How's the challenge going for you?

Hey folks!

Judging by the amount of forum responses and email open rates, it looks like participation in the challenge has been falling off a good bit.

I want to make the CQC as good as possible, so I’d love to learn more about why this is, and if there’s anything I can do to avoid it for future cohorts.

Please share anything you think would be helpful.


Ben, I fell off a little in the last few days, and one reason for that was being unsure how to implement some of the tasks in my projects. All of my substantial projects are freelance right now, and either aren’t very large (secondary client) or I’m not the lead developer (primary client). So, I think part of the resistance has come from not being sure I can implement some of the tasks without stepping on toes.

I don’t know that this is really a problem with the challenge though, and I’ve been thoroughly enjoying the system especially when the tasks can be applied to my (possibly non-usual) projects.

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I think another reason for resistance is if I feel like a task would be overwhelmingly difficult to even attempt. For example, with “write a bin/setup script” that would definitely take more than 20 minutes, and we already sort of have one but it doesn’t fully do everything.

Perhaps one way to minimize this feeling would be to structure more of the tasks like the “make one change that improves this part of the system.” So, just as “Get rid of a warning” is better than “Get rid of all warnings”, perhaps “Improve one aspect of the new developer experience” could be less daunting than “make a bin/setup script”?

This isn’t fully fleshed out but in general I know that the tasks that I had the most motivation to work on were the smaller ones that I could definitely see progress with in just a few minutes.


I’m still doing the challenges every day. They’re great. Forum posting hasn’t been keeping up though.

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I feel similar to @davidscolgan sometimes. Also didn’t manage to do the challenge every day. I’m not yet sure what’s the reason - maybe the environment of a very small company where things quickly can get pretty crazy.
Maybe it’s also not the dedication of 20 minutes per day to code quality but that the topic of that dedication is set (don’t get me wrong, the challenges are great, the ideas are great, but sometimes a specific topic just doesn’t fit into your day).
I’ll continue, learn, practice and reflect. With hopefully some insights :slight_smile:

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In my case it’s been a bit of being in the middle of a tight timeline on an important project at work this week that’s been grabbing a lot of my focus. I’m still (mostly) getting to the CQC’s every day, and have even had my manager’s manager sent me a Slack message about doing the CQC’s: “I love following along with your code quality challenges!! Not that I’m helping in any way, but I really appreciate the effort you’re putting into raising the bar and sparking discussion.”

So both from my own personal perspective as well as others in my organization, the challenge has been super useful/valuable.

I do agree that many of the exercises are tough to get done in 20 minutes, but I think that just requires a bit of a mental shift in the purpose of the CQC’s – it’s about dedicating 20 minutes every day to making an effort to improve things rather than “build a thing in 20 minutes” (ie it’s about building a habit, not the output). If all you get out of the 20 minutes is a bit of learning/practice, that’s still super valuable. Maybe feedback for running the CQC’s is to make this mindset a bit clear to better set expectations? I dunno.

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I have similar feeling with… the more recent challenges looks to be more time consuming than 20 minutes per day… i’m definitely still reading them through and are storing them in the back of my head, so each challenges doesn’t turn into individual PRs that I can directly commented on in the forum… instead, I tried to apply them in as I’m working on features that we want to release…

Another reason is, lack of complete buy in into how CQC is structured from my team… even though everyone mostly agreed that it’s a good thing, but, we’re not really following the “do it in the morning for 20 minutes” rhythm… instead, after PR for certain challenge are opened, it can stay there for days before it got reviewed and merged… mostly because everyone are focused on developing features, such that this kind of things got reduced priority…

It might be worth pointing out that doing small quality changes that keep the codebase tidy help the feature work go faster.

Ironically, if you always prioritize getting features done as quickly as possible, you’ll actually go slower than a team that takes the time to clean as they go.

I closed on a house on the 10th and we decided to do some renovations. I’ve been archiving all of the emails to pick a later month and do them, but this, this was not the month for me.

yup, completely agree on this, but, it’s not as easy to convince the higher up… since it’s hard to directly quantify how much we’re earning or saving in correlation with company revenue… in a way, it’s like what @davidscolgan said before, that we’re not sure that we can implement some of the task without stepping on toes…

so yeah, it’s not really a problem with the challenges… the challenges itself are good, and it has given us plenty of insight and ideas on how to do better…

I like the challenge and will recommend my friends this.

But the main reason for me is that the timing for me is a bit off since it’s holiday for me. I would love to do it again when I am checking my emails more often and have a computer.

Now I am saving every email in the hope that I will return and do them. That’s kind aspirational at least. :slight_smile:

Hey Ben! Personally, my motivation went downhill along the month. Lots on my plate those days, but most of all, I was a bit… disappointed to notice that most challenges were focused on “project-level improvements” (readme, setup script, dependencies, todos, git branches, etc.).

Even though they’re necessary, I expected more “code-level improvements” challenges (given the “code quality challenge” name), like the compound conditionals or the overgrown class ones. I’m trying to get better at refactoring and code organization, and that’s why I signed up for this. Maybe I didn’t correctly understand the overall challenge content beforehand (not a native English speaker).

I don’t mean that project-level improvements are not worth looking into, by all means, but they were simply not what I expected, and that’s why I had a hard time keeping my motivation for the whole challenge. Still useful… but not what I was looking for atm.

Hope it helps :slight_smile:

On the note of getting buy-in from coworkers: this was a big problem for me the first time I did the CQC (in Jan-ish?). Because our team was following a strict process of “any code change requires a ticket”, it meant that to do a CQC that touched code I had to first create a JIRA ticket, and to avoid impeding progress on in-sprint tasks I’d pick a project that wasn’t particularly being actively worked on. We also follow a process of all tickets must be QA’d by someone other than the code author, so I’d also have to get “buy-in” from someone on the team to do the QA work. Very quickly that 20 minute CQC ballooned into a rather time consuming task from the overhead of our process.

This time around the team is a little different, we’re working on a different project, and the team makeup is much more open to just letting CQC challenges go through without a formal JIRA ticket, etc. I’ve also been able to (for the most part) incorporate the CQC into tasks I was otherwise doing (ex: extract a compound conditional I applied while working on a ticket that I’d have to do regardless of whether or not I was doing the CQC).

It’s tricky, development is very much a team/collaboration activity, so if your team hasn’t bought into the idea of at least one person doing the CQC then it’s going to be tough to get all of them done.