I visited a number of development teams (both C++ and Java) in Krakow, Poland over the prior two weeks. I also had an opportunity to speak at the Agile Poland Users Group. Overall, I enjoyed my visit, but was as always most thankful to return home. The Polish developers were mostly very good and interested in improving upon themselves. I learned a few things from them, and I hope they learned from me.
For many, not all, of the developers, I could offer only “the little things,” as they seemed to have solid basic knowledge. Mostly, I worked with them on improving the readability and maintainability of their tests. I think this refactoring of tests is where the real money proposition can start coming into play–until tests are of high quality, they will continue to be costly to maintain. I hope the developers took “the little things” to heart, because I think attention to them is what distinguishes a journeyman from a master.