I’ve been a software developer for quite some time, and at my last job, I was indoctrinated into the practice of buying doughnuts for the development team if one of the developers “broke the build”.
For those who don’t know what that means, let me tell you. Any decent software project has a central repository for source code which does versioning. That allows you to “undo” some changes if you decide that you made a mistake, or that a feature shouldn’t have been added, etc. It also lets you see wny each change was made because you typically add a comment for each “commit” that you do to the source repository.
Breaking the build is not really breaking the “build”, per se, but committing a piece of code to the software respository that causes the next build to fail (a “build” is when you compile all the code in the project — usually for testing purposes).
The penalty for breaking the build was therefore furnishing the entire development team with doughnuts the following morning. Sometimes, people woulc bring the crap from around the corner — one of these places in downtown Washington, DC that couldn’t possibly stay in buisiness unless everyone who worked on the block went there for breakfast and lunch (which they did… apparently because they derive no joy whatsoever from meals). However, those of us who knew what we were doing would seek out and find the very best in doughnut-land: Krispy Kremes.
After I got married, I switched jobs and I’m now leading the development team for an organization in Baltimore, MD. There is no central office and so everyone works from home. This is a big advantage for me, since I live in Virginia. However, even the development team doesn’t work physically in the same location, so if someone breaks the build, it’s kinda hard for someone to provide doughnuts to everyong in retribution for breaking the build.
Several days ago, one of our engineers, Luke, broke the build. In jest (since we really can’t do the whole doughnut thing), I created a bug report in our bug tracking system, and mentioned doughnuts.
Needless to say, the “bug” was fixed in minutes.
This morning, my friend the UPS dude comes to my door (poor guy… he’s lugged a TiVo up 4 flights of stairs to my apartment when the elevator was dead for a couple of days) with this box from Dunkin Doughnuts.
“What the hell is Dunkin’ Doughnuts sending me?”, I said to my wife.
“Open it!”, she yells as she starts tearing into the box. “There could be doughnuts in there!”
It was way too light to be doughnuts. It was also way too light to contain a bomb, so I figured it would be cool to open it.
I laughed so hard I almost fell our of my chair. I think I’ll send Katie out to get us some doughnuts.