Wednesday, October 25, 2006

The Nerd and the Manager

Since code is the primary output of construction, a key question in managing construction is "How do you encourage good coding practices?" In general, mandating a strict set of standards from the top isn't a good idea. Programmers tend to view managers as being at a lower level of technical evolution, somewhere between single-celled organisms and the woolly mammoths that died out during the Ice Age, and if there are going to be programming standards, programmers need to buy into them.
- From Code Complete by Steve McConnell

Like Frederick P. Brooks, Kent Beck and Alfie Kohn, Steve McConnel emphasizes the humand nature of the software developer, who has her own values (a strong distaste for being managed and the ability to create lines of code from nothing but black coffee). All this leads to a developer-centric view of the development process that is proposed by Kent Beck as the silver bullet with which we can finally kill Brook's werewolf.

But, as the nerd is inherently weak on the communication side of life, it's not easy to create a developer centric environment. Developers tend to fight holy wars between themselves how the top notch development workplace should look like (granted, apart from two or three zillion-gigahertz power machines).

So now I'll have to find a book that tells me how to get deep emotional information from my fellow code wizards. Or I try to learn pi by heart.

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