Showing posts from December, 2008

The Bus Problem

Software engineering practitioners joke about this all the time, and it’s a classic management problem that is deeply rooted in the software engineering folklore. There exists a person who singlehandedly built software program that supports some important business function (in production environment of course). Everyone knows that there is virtually no documentation, no one else knows the code, there is no source control, and this is the only person who can maintain the program. And if that person gets hit by a bus and dies there will major issues, but it’s better not to think about it.

Even in the organizations that have mature software engineering processes the bus problem persists. This is because all organizations have opportunistic projects (programs) developed by a person or two. These programs, usually developed as unofficial side projects, support informal business processes that provide significant benefit to the end users at little cost. These opportunistic projects are usual…

Taking care of your people

This post is about taking care of your colleagues and employees. With holidays rapidly approaching many people scramble to say thank you and congratulate their subordinates and colleagues. This behavior often leads to awkward moments and superficial exchanges of gratitude. Don’t do it.

If you haven’t been taking care of your people through the year consider changing your behavior. By saying “taking care” I don’t mean buying expensive gifts or giving superficial awards. What I mean is enabling your colleagues and employees to support you in the most productive way possible while operating in a professional environment. In life it’s the small things that leave a lasting impression that make people happy.

Let’s say your new team members all have standard company issued laptops with 1 GB or memory. The software tools they use to model architecture and conduct analysis functions result in thrashing and frustrating usability experience. Closing Outlook and IDE makes the modeling software run …