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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169
votes
25answers
17k views

How to convince my boss that quality is a good thing to have in code? [duplicate]

My boss came to me today to ask me if we could implement a certain feature in 1.5 days. I had a look at it and told him that 2 to 3 days would be more realistic. He then asked me: "And what if we do ...
149
votes
13answers
9k views

If my team has low skill, should I lower the skill of my code? [closed]

For example, there is a common snippet in JS to get a default value: function f(x) { x = x || 'default_value'; } This kind of snippet is not easily understood by all the members of my team, ...
113
votes
21answers
5k views

Is there a way to combat Sales perpetually overcommitting? [closed]

I seem to be repeatedly stuck in a situation where release dates are set not based on anything technical, but because someone in Sales has committed to a customer by then. Based on discussions with ...
100
votes
10answers
12k views

Would you put your Stack Overflow profile link on your CV / Resume? [closed]

If applying for a new job, would you put your Stack Overflow profile link on your resume? This would show the employer you're an active member of the development community and also provide an insight ...
87
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. ...
82
votes
10answers
7k views

How to motivate co-workers to write unit-tests? [closed]

We're working on a large product which has been in production for about 5 years. The codebase is.. erm.. working. Not really well but it is working. New features are thrown into production and tested ...
74
votes
14answers
6k views

How important is it for a programmer to have an online presence? [closed]

I've noticed more and more mentions (both in posts here and in actual job descriptions) of programmers' "portfolios" - typically their public profiles on sites such as this, GitHub, etc. How ...
66
votes
7answers
5k 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 ...
66
votes
10answers
6k 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 ...
58
votes
18answers
6k views

How to tell your boss that his programming style is really bad? [duplicate]

I'm a student and in my spare time I'm working for a big enterprise as Java developer. The job is good, but the problem is, my boss writes very strange code. I don't want to complain, but some issues ...
56
votes
5answers
5k 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 ...
55
votes
4answers
2k views

How to explain to a non-technical person why the task will take much longer than they think?

Almost every developer has to answer questions from business side like: Why is going to take 2 days to add this simple contact form? When a developer estimates this task, they may divide it into ...
46
votes
21answers
6k views

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

How do you go about explaining refactoring (and technical debt) to a non-technical person (typically a PHB or customer)? ("What, it's going to cost me a month of your work with no visible ...
46
votes
8answers
2k views

How to advocate Stack Overflow at work [closed]

I am thinking of doing a short presentation at work about using Stack Overflow as a resource for your day job. What is your experience doing this? Would you deem it a valid resource to tell ...
45
votes
11answers
5k views

How do I approach a coworker about his or her code quality? [duplicate]

I work on a new venture at a large enterprise software company (3000+ programmers). In my group, we have a bunch of projects and people usually work on several projects over the course of a year. I ...
43
votes
19answers
5k views

How do you share your craft with non programmers?

Sometimes I feel like a musician who can't play live shows. Programming is a pretty cool skill, and a very broad world, but a lot of it happens "off camera"- in your head, in your office, away from ...
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 ...
39
votes
11answers
3k views

How do I prove to management that our programmers could work more productively? [duplicate]

Backstory I graduated less than a year ago with a degree in Computer Science (with extra courses in software engineering), and another degree in Software Engineering. I'd like to think that I'm ...
39
votes
17answers
6k views

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

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 ...
34
votes
12answers
3k views

How to explain my 5 burnt-out years off to a new employer? [closed]

Five years ago, I lost my ability to concentrate long-term, and therefore ability to code with professional efficiency. I know why it happened, I understood how it happened, and on top of being able ...
34
votes
7answers
13k views

How do I convince my boss to use REST over SOAP? [duplicate]

We need to create an API to our system. How do I convince my boss that REST is a better option than SOAP (or XML-RPC)? I say REST is... easier to implement and maintain not much new to learn -- ...
34
votes
11answers
2k views

Is mentioning my blog on my resume helpful or hurtful to a job search? [closed]

I have a blog that I use mostly to record solutions to problems I have had, that I had some trouble finding an answer to. Mostly problems where the online doc I googled provided too much info, and I ...
34
votes
4answers
4k views

Etiquette when asking questions in an IRC channel [closed]

Many larger OSS projects maintain IRC channels to discuss their usage or development. When I get stuck on using a project, having tried and failed to find information on the web, one of the ways I try ...
28
votes
7answers
1k views

How can I change sloppy company culture? [closed]

Sometimes when I have a problem that needs to be solved, I find that the easiest way to solve it is by writing a small program as a personal tool. I don't make it super usable or super robust, as I am ...
28
votes
5answers
3k 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 ...
28
votes
5answers
2k views

What is an effective way to record rationales behind product design decisions?

At our company, we do not use any product design documents. We have three employees total so all product design discussion happens in person, or on Slack. (We are also on the basic Slack package that ...
27
votes
26answers
2k views

Should managers prohibit programmers from using IM in office? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Would you allow your programmers to use Messenger and social networks like Facebook? A manager may believe that using IM clients in the office is not acceptable, but ...
26
votes
5answers
2k views

How to explain why design choices are good? [closed]

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 ...
25
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. ...
25
votes
11answers
2k views

How to deal with misconceptions about “premature optimization is the root of all evil”?

I've encountered many people who are dogmatically against anything which can be considered "optimization" in the general English-language sense of the word, and they very often quote verbatim the ...
23
votes
4answers
4k 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 ...
23
votes
10answers
2k views

How can I give a good presentation to important, non-technical stakeholders?

At the end of the month, I have to give a presentation on a software project that I've been working on by myself that will basically decide whether or not I will get a full-time job at the company I'm ...
22
votes
8answers
1k views

How do I cope with a manager who’s always interfering in what I do, but doesn’t really understand it?

We've all had them, managers who have either come from sales or last looked at code 10 or more years ago but think they know how to write code. What can I do to give the impression that I'm grateful ...
21
votes
10answers
2k views

Manager keeps changing requirement specification after every demo [closed]

Background of my working environment My manager has no background or understanding of computers or software whatsoever. It is highly likely he hasn't seen code in any form (not even from a physical ...
20
votes
10answers
3k 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
4answers
2k views

“Too object-oriented”

I come from a strong OO background, and I have recently started working in an organization which, although the code is written in Java, has a lot less emphasis on good OO design than what I am used ...
20
votes
5answers
1k views

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

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
9answers
2k 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 ...
18
votes
8answers
449 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 ...
18
votes
5answers
897 views

Public Speaking in software development [closed]

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 ...
18
votes
8answers
2k 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. ...
17
votes
4answers
2k 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
2k views

How to deal with the “programming blowhard”? [closed]

So I'm sure everyone has run into this person at one point or another, someone catches wind of your project or idea and initially shows some interest. You get to talking about some of your methods and ...
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
13answers
1k 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...
16
votes
4answers
985 views

How can I get the word out about a new (open-source) library I've developed? [closed]

I'm finishing up a personal project in which I've implemented a library that I expect others may want to use. Without going into too much detail, the library provides a cross-platform interface for ...
15
votes
10answers
921 views

How to deal with a CEO making all technical decision but with little technical knowledge?

Question posted anonymously for obvious reasons. I am working in a company with a dev group of 5-6 developers, and I am in a situation which I have a hard time dealing with. Every technical choice ...
15
votes
10answers
691 views

suggesting large changes/a rewrite as an intern [closed]

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
7answers
7k 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
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 ...