Questions surrounding communications between programmers and the others involved in software development. This can include stakeholders, management, end users, designers, testers, and other developers.

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134
votes
5answers
2k views

Programmer, not a blogger [closed]

I need advice from people who might understand where I'm coming from. I'm the lead engineer on a software product. The company I'm working for recently expressed serious interest in having me blog ...
79
votes
19answers
3k views

Dealing with management that does not see value in improvements that are not immediately visible to the user

I can understand schedule pressure. You want to please your users, as they are the lifeblood of the company. However, it is also true that certain changes will make everything easier down the road. ...
59
votes
7answers
4k views

How do I take responsibility for my code when colleague makes unnecessary improvements without notice?

One of my teammates is a jack of all trades in our IT shop and I respect his insight. However, sometimes he reviews my code (he's second in command to our team leader, so that's expected) without a ...
55
votes
10answers
4k views

Why do programmers still use mailing lists? [duplicate]

Why do many open source projects collaborate primarily through mailing lists rather than through, say, forums? I may be ignorant in my assessment, but I, along with my communication teacher, think ...
45
votes
4answers
4k views

Why do some big projects, like Git and Debian, only use a mailing list and not an issue tracker?

Bug tracker for any decent sized project seem like a bit of a no-brainer to me - it makes it really easy to organise hundreds or thousands issues, without issues colliding or getting mixed up. So ...
44
votes
21answers
6k views

How do you explain refactoring to a non-technical person?

(This question was inspired by the most-voted answer here) How do you go about explaining refactoring (and technical debt) to a non-technical person (typically a PHB or customer)? ("What, it's going ...
41
votes
41answers
3k views

Which comments instantly ring alarm bells when a programmer says them? [closed]

Similar to my question about easily spotted warning signs in code I think sometimes comments programmers make can tell you quite a lot (of not good things) about them in a short period of time. The ...
38
votes
17answers
4k views

Will my communication skills be wasted in a software engineering career?

I've been in the financial engineering arena (after BA Math and BA Computer Science) for about 5 years (20% analysis/programming, 80% communicating) and take pride in my ability to communicate with ...
38
votes
18answers
2k views

How can I improve my technical writing?

Writing documentation is part of programming, and writing well is part of what makes the documentation useful. So, what are some hints or guidelines for good writing in the technical realm? What are ...
35
votes
11answers
2k views

How can I improve my communication skills? [closed]

Jeff Atwood suggests that becoming a great programmer takes serious communication skills. What are the suggested ways for a programmer to develop his communication skills?
25
votes
5answers
2k views

How do you disarm a cowboy coder? [closed]

I found a question (code cowboy on the team), but it was more related to "Ninja Coder" then the problem that I have. I have a team member who is a pure living example of "Cowboy Coder". I do ...
23
votes
12answers
1k views

What tools are available for remote communication when working from home or with a distributed team? [closed]

My supervisor is allowing my team to dip our toes in the water of working from home. Considering a recent aquisition of another company is requiring some employees to love this new idea which will ...
22
votes
4answers
3k views

Is this simple XOR encrypted communication absolutely secure?

Say Alice and Peter each have a 4GB USB flash memory stick. They meet and save on both sticks two files named alice_to_peter.key (2GB) and peter_to_alice.key (2GB) which contain randomly generated ...
22
votes
13answers
2k views

How To Deal With Terrible Design Decisions [duplicate]

I'm a consultant at one company. There is another consultant who is a year older than me and has been here 3 months longer than I have, and a full time developer. The full-time developer is great. ...
21
votes
4answers
941 views

How to explain why design choices are good?

As I've become a better developer, I find that much of my design skill comes more from intuition than mechanical analysis. This is great. It lets me read code and get a feel for it quicker. It lets me ...
20
votes
10answers
2k views

How can my team avoid frequent errors after refactoring?

To give you a little background: I work for a company with roughly twelve Ruby on Rails developers (+/- interns). Remote work is common. Our product is made out of two parts: a rather fat core, and ...
20
votes
5answers
954 views

How to tackle a boss/manager who likes to race the coders

After a recent restructuring happened in our corporation - I have got a new line manager. He is generally ok and not as sneaky as the previous one. By "sneaky" I don't mean he was an evil manager - I ...
18
votes
16answers
520 views

Best way to relate code smells to a non technical audience?

I have been asked to present examples of code issues that were found during a code review. My audience is mostly non-technical and I want to try to express the issues in such a way that I convey the ...
18
votes
5answers
634 views

Public Speaking in software development

Greetings my fellow cubicle dwellers. I've found my role gradually change from "feature-maintainer" to "feature-developer". While much of the former would consist of fixing and/or updating an ...
17
votes
4answers
1k views

How to convince/prove my manager that a rewriting is needed rather than a refactoring [duplicate]

My manager wants me to refactor a gigantic amount of terribly-coupled, macroed, full of private namespace methods, hierarchy-perverted (even 10+ levels of inheritance) code which hasn't been (indeed) ...
17
votes
9answers
1k views

How can I sell a legacy program rewrite to the business? [duplicate]

We have a legacy classic ASP application that's been around since 2001. It badly needs to be re-written, but it's working fine from an end user perspective. The reason I feel like a rewrite is ...
17
votes
8answers
399 views

What do I do when my team leader is breaking my database schema with a release coming up?

My team leader has this terrible habit of mucking with the database schema, and making changes that would cause severe breakage on the code base (without really consulting me on how the changes would ...
16
votes
17answers
3k views

I believe my solution is better than my boss's, so should I ignore him? [closed]

I'm working with php and sql. I think that my method of implementing functions is better than what my boss proposes. Just now he explained me how to do a check on a list of email addresses, and I do ...
16
votes
8answers
1k views

How do you make slides for programming talks? [closed]

I've given a few talks recently and I have not found a good way to make slides. Here are a few desirable characteristics for programming slides: They're slides. A standard emacs buffer won't do it. ...
15
votes
13answers
860 views

What to do if a co-worker is editing your code just to change the appearance?

What should you do, if a co-worker is editing your code? Without the purpose of adding functionality or fixing bugs, just to change how it looks...
15
votes
10answers
651 views

suggesting large changes/a rewrite as an intern

The context: it's an internal project (that I don't think a lot of people use) it's old we're updating it The issues: it abuses the mvc framework (no use of models, business logic in views, etc) ...
15
votes
3answers
1k views

Integrating into a new team

I've just joined a new company where a lot of the developers have been working for more than ten years. How do I integrate into the team without stepping on too many toes?
15
votes
7answers
3k views

How to run developer team meetings?

Our team of 10 developers meet weekly. The meetings are rather boring and not particularly useful. What format/agenda do you utilize to have good meetings? We meet weekly in the conference room with ...
14
votes
9answers
4k views

How do I explain “Recursion” to a 8 years old kid? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: In plain English, what is recursion? What is the best way to explain "Recursion" to 8 years old kid? I tried with the Fibonacci Series but i failed.
14
votes
5answers
933 views

How to improve my email communication

Paraphrase of an email I sent to a colleague I noticed a problem with System A. I have determined that it is not caused by X. I suspect that it is being caused by Y. (since you are in ...
13
votes
9answers
2k views

Should I tell a departed coworker about their “sev 1” defect? [closed]

I had a co-worker leave our company recently. Before leaving, he coded a component that had a severe memory leak that caused a production outage (OutOfMemoryError in Java). The problem was ...
13
votes
6answers
2k views

As a Junior Software Engineer should I say that something has been done wrong if I feel so?

I recently joined a company and it is my first job. When reading the code base, I felt that the code was not well written. It seemed to me that the code had most of the problems mentioned here and ...
13
votes
9answers
641 views

How do you explain the source of an identifed problem without making it an “excuse”?

As practicing (as much as I can at least) "egoless programming", I'm focused on solving problems whoever wrote the code related (if that person don't make dangerous code) and I like to understand the ...
13
votes
8answers
539 views

How do I (quickly) let people know that software I am providing for free is not abandon-ware?

As an independent, individual programmer: How do I let people very quickly know that I have not abandoned the software I've written and given away for free? That I am putting in the effort required ...
12
votes
16answers
2k views

Best (worst) logically impossible task assigned to you? [closed]

What was a project or spec that got put on your desk that could not possibly be done? How did you explain the dilemma to the "requester"? More importantly, did they understand after you explained the ...
12
votes
5answers
769 views

I released open source code that is useable to other programmers. How do I let them know about it? [duplicate]

I have a tiny project (<1k but let's say its <5k of lines). I made it open source and put it on github. I did this once before and I didn't get a single download nor fork but that was very ...
12
votes
6answers
441 views

How can I communicate the risks of altering vendor software?

We have a major problem where I work, and it's name is "customization". We have an old (10+ years) vendor software system that our IT and accounting departments previously loved to customize. ...
12
votes
4answers
2k views

Why is it preferred to write a commit message in present tense/imperative mood? [duplicate]

I often read/overhear that good commit messages should be written in present tense or to use imperative mood when describing the change eg. Fix xyz instead of Fixed xyz. What are the advantages of ...
11
votes
10answers
2k views

How do I explain to non-programers what .NET is? [closed]

I don't work at a software company, and I'm one of a small handful of people in the company that know anything about programming. I spend a lot of time automating other programs that are used in the ...
11
votes
3answers
576 views

Do teams get more productive by adding more developers? [duplicate]

Suppose you've got a project that is running late. Is there any proof or argument that teams become much more productive by adding more people? I am looking for answers that can be supported by facts ...
10
votes
10answers
497 views

How to communicate with a co-worker that considers frameworks a performance hit

How can one sell an idea like "we should use jQuery because its highly optimized and cross browser compatible" or "entity framework is cool because its neat and takes care of our model automagically" ...
10
votes
9answers
1k views

What do you do to improve your speech communication skills? [closed]

Being a programmer is not just grokking the latest cool technology or debugging a sneaky code error , we have to speak to our coworkers, project manager or boss, in the most effective way possibly; we ...
10
votes
4answers
371 views

How to introduce code to a colleague

How do you go about introducing the codebase, which may be rather complex and tangled with a lot of "gotchas," to a new member of your team? I think the easiest way would be to have the overall ...
9
votes
8answers
1k views

Tester-Developer communication

While a lot is written about developer-developer, developer-client, developer-team manager communications, I couldn't find any text which gives guidelines about tester-developer communication and ...
9
votes
6answers
591 views

Do you obfuscate your email address in open-source code to prevent spamming?

I've been thinking of releasing a few projects, and most authors in the community leave their email address right in the code, often as is or using commonly used schemes like "meATNOSPAMgmail.com", ...
9
votes
2answers
595 views

What to do when a client asks for something unreasonable (from my point of view)

I'm a freelance programmer and recently I finished a website, it all works fine but there was one user that complained to my client that he couldn't log in. This problem was clearly a ...
9
votes
5answers
911 views

How can I give a basic idea of what I'm working on to a non programmer? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: How to explain programming to a non-programmer? As a relatively new programmer (1 year professionally, many years as an amateur) I've run into many situations that sent ...
9
votes
6answers
349 views

How do you keep emails short but complete? [closed]

I'm the odd kind of developer that likes writing and explaining - emails, specs, you name it. I enjoy helping people understand things deeply. I hate ping-pong communications where groups go through ...
9
votes
7answers
921 views

What is the proper relationship between the software developer and the business customer?

IT professionals are experts who are trusted with the IT assets of a business or organisation. As trusted professionals we have responsibilities that extend beyond things that a non-IT customer can be ...
8
votes
8answers
552 views

Diplomatically point out the obvious problem in a product

As we all know, every software has bugs in it. It is matter of time to discover it. Suppose if you just found your product has potential big issue and it was not developed by you. How would you deal ...