Discussion on: Describe the worst coding culture you've been a part of

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Niko Heikkilä

We had a team of five plus me - all students. We were given a project to design and implement gamification for an interactive MOOC platform. While this project taught me a lot, it had many approaches and defects I've since sought not to follow:

  • Requirements and feedback from customer shifted many times during the sprints making it very hard to prioritize the current backlog items, thus we ended up selecting tasks we thought we manage to implement in time.
  • Project Lead had another project going on simultaneously which he invested more time into
  • Towards the end Product Owner moved to another city making it impossible for them to attend meetings and answer questions (all we had was a barrage of "Is it done yet?" styled emails)
  • We had established an agile workflow of reviewing and testing code but no one was actually reviewing and testing causing test builds to break continuously
  • All the three programmers had to learn a new framework (Flask) for a new language (Python) on a new tech stack (Docker) in relatively short time – luckily, we had two very good technical support persons who had worked with these before
  • Features had unbalanced implementation effort by design causing one programmer had to work about 50% more than others

All in all, it was not a deliberately bad culture as we were just lost in a sea of poor project management hacking the code until it got accepted. It could have went so much better, though.