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I'm working as a senior developer in a software company and recently started a new project. However, the project is based on some technologies that no one on the team (and even in the company) has a lot of experience with (myself included) and the work has not been going very smoothly so far.

My boss and his boss along with some other executives from the company recently returned from a business trip where they had meetings with our clients. One of the takeaways from there was that the clients will have some guys regularly inspect our code in terms of quality, application of best practices, design decisions and so on.

Today, my boss asked me to join a meeting with his boss and told me that the objective is to discuss how we will ensure that our code meets the standards of the clients (and that he is taking only me because I am the only senior developer on team (or at least the only one who is holding this title)).

However, when the meeting started, my boss opened up saying that recently after he returned from a vacation he noticed quite some issues with the code base and listed a few that are on the server-side (all of which were results from tasks that I had completed - but basically I'm the author of 99% of our server code). His boss then continued by saying that it is very important to have very high coding standards for this project and that my boss is overwhelmed with work so he cannot guarantee the code quality on his own and needs a helping hand for this. He proceeded by saying that since I'm the most senior developer on the team they hope that I can set and enforce high coding standards which the other, less experienced team members can follow. Then he asked me a few times (in different ways) if I will be able to help my boss guarantee high code quality.

The way I see it they were trying to tell me off, but in a very gentle way. However, I'm a bit disappointed that my boss didn't discuss this directly with me (he is a tech lead for the team and he makes some notes on the code quality every now and then - I agree with most of them and make changes (excluding the times when I have too much other work and don't have the time to refactor) and I give him (reasonable) argumentation when I disagree).

What is your take on this - am I right in my suspicions about the purpose of the meeting? I'm planning to schedule a meeting my boss' boss (I have known him for a long time) and ask him directly about this - I feel that they have nothing to be dissatisfied with - I'm the main person who pushes the project forward.

  • What do they mean by "high coding standards"? Standards and Quality aren't the same thing. – WorkerDrone Sep 20 '16 at 17:25
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    He proceeded by saying that since I'm the most senior developer on the team they hope that I can set and enforce high coding standards which the other, less experienced team members can follow. sounds like they're asking you to take on more responsibility, not telling you off. – Chris G Sep 20 '16 at 17:45
  • The way I understood what he said was the emphasis of their own meeting was "high code quality." If I was in that meeting, I would ask specifically what the client was looking for in regard to high quality code. I would discuss documentations and other coding practices that can be given off to ensure the other company will be able to quickly use the code. Sounds like they trust you to ensure this would be possible. – Dan Sep 20 '16 at 18:20
  • @WorkerDrone I'd imagine "high code standard/quality" was a blanket statement from a non-technical manager. Most likely the other company will give the code to their dev. They'd be looking for documentations, standards, etc to determine if they can use the code and tell management to pay the bill. The OP's manager is asking to make sure this is done. The OP should ask for clarification on anything specific they're looking for and cite what he already has (ex documents, etc). – Dan Sep 20 '16 at 18:25
  • @ChrisG Indeed it sound to me that the boss' boss might sooner or later become boss. – Jeroen Sep 22 '16 at 14:48
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I don't take it as a bad move.

His boss was with him on the trip. His boss wants to know there is a fix. You are considered the fix and it is 100% appropriate to get you in front of the boss boss.

Yes saying the code was not perfect is a bit of a jab but I would not take it poorly. Our code is not perfect and client is going to be inspecting is a heads up.

My perception is that if he felt you had a performance issue then he would (should) have had a performance discussion with you prior to the meeting.

I suggest a proactive approach. Code review if you don't today. Try and make contact with customer code review team so you can address issues on a technical level. Review the release process and ask your boss if any changes should be make. Ask your boss if he would like to review code before it is release to the customer.

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    Makes sense. The idea is to be (and appear) proactive, and spread responsibility by putting more eyes on the code. This should also be a good learning opportunity since by interfacing with client and looking at code at the same time should improve the code and your team's skills, while building constructive working relationship with client (we are here to problem solve this together, tell us what we can do better, etc.). – A.S Sep 21 '16 at 16:20

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