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

learn more… | top users | synonyms

162
votes
25answers
15k 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 ...
137
votes
5answers
3k 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 ...
86
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. ...
77
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 ...
61
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 ...
60
votes
10answers
5k 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
5k 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 ...
54
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 ...
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 ...
40
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 ...
40
votes
17answers
5k 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 ...
38
votes
11answers
2k 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 ...
38
votes
11answers
3k 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?
32
votes
7answers
11k 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 -- ...
32
votes
4answers
3k 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 ...
26
votes
5answers
1k 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
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
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. ...
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
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 ...
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
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
5answers
766 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 ...
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
3answers
1k 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 ...
17
votes
8answers
428 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 ...
15
votes
13answers
925 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
683 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
5k 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
5answers
957 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
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 ...
13
votes
6answers
2k views

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

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
709 views

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

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
559 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
5answers
846 views

What methods are available to show colleagues the advantages of a database+application solution over Excel?

I work in a company where there are Excel spreadsheets everywhere. As my colleagues are non-programmers, I'm sure they haven't contemplated that there might be a better/easier/more productive way of ...
12
votes
4answers
3k 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 ...
12
votes
6answers
471 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. ...
11
votes
9answers
510 views

Is it out of line to give unsolicited constructive criticism to a programmer? [duplicate]

I recently started work at new office that uses a proprietary program written by a solo developer. He's occasionally around as part-time tech support, but the company has signed off on this software ...
11
votes
10answers
3k 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
605 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 ...
11
votes
5answers
775 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 ...
11
votes
7answers
1k 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 ...
10
votes
10answers
507 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
2answers
661 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 ...
10
votes
6answers
639 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", ...
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 ...