You owe me an icecream

We’ve been running TDD at work over the last 5 weeks or so since we started on this new e-commerce platform that we’re building for the business.

Five weeks in, our unit and functional tests have started to take more than 5 minutes to run, and this is after tweaks by yours truly, such as running the MySQL MEMORY tables instead of INNODB tables. 405 tests, just over 1800 assertions and consuming upward of 1.2GB of memory (bad PHP… bad bad PHP…).

Because there’s a team of 5 of us actively working on the same codebase, performing a complete git pull potentially breaks our local build/test cycles for various reasons. Given 5 people in the team (including oneself), one has high 4 in 5 probability of nailing the wrong person. If it turns out that the accuser was at fault, what ensues is a 100% chance of public humiliation.

So to soften the blow, I came up with a concept of owing an icecream. For example, when a colleague wrongly accuses you of breaking the build only to find that cause was him leaving something out, you’d say “now you owe me an icecream”.

So far it’s worked very well to express a combination of  “it’s not that big a deal, we all make mistakes” and “hey, you dumba**, don’t blame me for your incompetence” in a ratio that the receiver can tweak to taste.

“Icecream” invokes fun, carefree and light-heartedness. “Owe” bears the seriousness of the matter, and reeks of mortgage and interest rates. So the phrase becomes conversational equivalent of gunning down someone with a NERF gun or pillow-whacking someone over the head.