The Clean Coder (& Tester!)

Lisa Crispin reviews Bob Martin's "The Clean Coder". She says that she would have preferred something like "The Software Professional" or "How to Really Enjoy Your Software Career." According to Lisa, the lessons in this book are essential for everyone involved in delivering software, not only the programmers.


The Clean CoderI just finished reading Bob Martin's The Clean Coder . I understand why he used that title, but I would have preferred something like The Software Professional or How to Really Enjoy Your Software Career . The lessons in this book are essential for everyone involved in delivering software, not only the programmers.

Uncle Bob doesn't hesitate to share painful lessons he learned the hard way over the early part of his career. Maybe the best reason to read this book is to see how he actually learned from his mistakes (and those of others). Often when we make mistakes, we're tempted to blame someone else for them. Bob doesn't hold back, he's not afraid to describe his worst decisions, and he lays out in detail what he did to improve and ensure future success.

The stories make the book an easy and compelling read, and the advice on how a true professional behaves may make you squirm (I did, at times). I've been guilty of being a bad team player by saying "yes" or "I'll try" when I should have said "no". I don't pair very much in my day-to-day work, when doing so would improve the quality of my work and our product.

I cheered as I read Bob tell us to continually learn, and to learn things outside our comfort zone. I've been focusing on this the past few years, and I do feel I'm a much better professional and more valuable team member as a result.

So many insights in this book were an "aha" moment for me. For example, Bob explains how it takes time for a team to "gel", but once they do, magic happens. I realized that the reason my team rocks is that we "gelled" years ago and have been able to keep working together, always finding ways to work better. We're so fortunate that no manager has tried to break us up (and so is our company!)

The only thing this book is missing IMO is a Big Finish. The last sentence in the book describes Uncle Bob's Macbook Pro. I was expecting him to exhort us to go forth and be true professionals.

So I'll do the exhorting. Read this book. It's short and it won't take you long. Follow Uncle Bob's advice and start behaving as a true professional does. It will make you happy, make your teammates happy, make your employer (or perhaps your future employer) happy.

Have you already read The Clean Coder ? What's your reaction? Are you a programmer, tester or other role? I'm curious how this book struck others. It hit squarely home with me.

User Comments

1 comment
Anonymous's picture

It is a great book. I dunno about that foreword, though. What joker wrote that?

Oh yeah. Whoops. Nevermind ...


January 19, 2012 - 10:58am

About the author

Lisa Crispin's picture Lisa Crispin

Lisa Crispin is the co-author, with Janet Gregory, of More Agile Testing: Learning Journeys for the Whole Team (Addison-Wesley 2014), Agile Testing: A Practical Guide for Testers and Agile Teams (Addison-Wesley, 2009), co-author with Tip House of Extreme Testing (Addison-Wesley, 2002), and a contributor to Experiences of Test Automation by Dorothy Graham and Mark Fewster (Addison-Wesley, 2011) and Beautiful Testing (O’Reilly, 2009). Lisa was honored by her peers by being voted the Most Influential Agile Testing Professional Person at Agile Testing Days 2012. Lisa enjoys working as a tester with an awesome agile team. She shares her experiences via writing, presenting, teaching and participating in agile testing communities around the world.  For more about Lisa’s work, visit and follow @lisacrispin on Twitter.

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