Poll: What factor is most likely to or has driven you out of a career as a programmer?

In my previous article,  “Programmers: Before you turn 40, get a plan B”  several of my readers pointed out the staleness of the NYT article that I cited along with its citation of a joint NSF/Census Bureau study*  indicating a high dropout rate for software developers.  Further, the original study utilized some questionable sampling methods by  focusing on programmers with a CS degree, which is not a prerequisite for a programming career.

* [Citation Needed] If anyone can find a copy of this study on-line, please send me a link.

Although I don’t claim to be a journalist, it doesn’t excuse my sloppy journalism. As an act of penance, I am going to attempt to collect some fresh data to test whether this theory still holds and investigate the causes of attrition in our business by polling my readers. Please help me maintain at least a modicum of scientific rigor and only respond on the polls that are relevant to your specific situation.

I’ll post the results and discuss them in an upcoming article, but the impatient among you can see the results by clicking on the link at the bottom of the poll.



BTW: Sorry the Polls are formatted so wonky. I’ve gotto find a better poll widget provider than PollDaddy.

FogBugz 7.0 – Coming Soon!

Exciting News!

I got an e-mail this week from the Program Manager over at FogCreek.  They are getting tantalizingly close to releasing the much anticipated 7.0 release of their excellent FogBugz bug and feature tracking software, and extended an invitation to me to participate in alpha testing program for the new version. 

It is possible that my name came up because I have been a strong proponent of the tool and at the same time constant nag about the temerity of calling it a “Software Project Management Tool” when arguably its biggest weakness was the lack of strong workflow features. However, from the subtext of the message, I think it is more likely they are more interested in encouraging me to build some custom plug-ins (more on this in a minute) to have in their “app store” at launch and thought I’d be a likely taker because I had built a somewhat popular mod that adds a table of contents for a Fogbugz Wiki


So what’s it look like?

I’ve promised not to let the cat out of the bag, but I’ll shake it a little and let you hear a the meows…

So far I am definitely impressed. Unlike the FB6 release which seemed to focus mainly on giving the developers a chance to play with AJAX and bolting on a time-sheet system, FB7 clearly shows that the guys at Fog Creek finally got the message and this release is far more customer driven.  While I can’t comment on specific features, I will say that FB7 will be a must-upgrade for any shop that has been trying as unsuccessfully as I have to force fit Agile into FB6.

Call For Plug-In Ideas

The other thing I have been cleared to discuss is that the new version has a plug-in API, which should provide much needed respite from having to hack ASP classic files to tweak the system and then worry that the next patch will overwrite your mods. Some of the plug-ins they already have in the works are pretty awesome. Many of the things that immediately came to mind for testing out the new plug-in API had either been added to the software in FB7 or already had a plug-in in progress. Still, I’d like to give it a shot just to get familiar with the new API. This brings me to the point of this post. I need ideas!

I know you haven’t seen the new version yet, so I expect a lot of suggestions that won’t fly. However, I am hoping for some fresh ideas from Fogbugz users.  Please use the comments feature on this post to send them my way!

Poll: Where does software Q/A belong in the org chart?

A critical element of creating a successful software development team is identifying and implementing an organizational structure that encourages collaboration, creates accountability, and enhances morale-improving positive self-efficacy for both testers and programmers.

Of particular interest and substantial debate within my company, is the optimal relative placement of the QA/Testing and programming functions in the org structure. I am working on an article discussing the issues, trends, and best practices for setting up a software development team. I’d like my readers to share their experiences and opinions as fellow managers, testers, and developers on the topic to include in my findings.

Thanks in advance for your participation.

Poll 1: Your reality.

Poll 2: Your ideal.

Further Discussion

Please use the comments area to provide any additional detail on your answers or discuss related topics, such as:

  • Does a particular structure work better for different types of development activity (internal, product, consulting, etc)?
  • For organizations that place the programmers closer to the testers, how do you maintain checks-and-balances?
  • For organizations that separate programmers/testers more, how to you encourage collaboration and information sharing?