Yakov on Joel

Let “s do some math. Everyone knows the 80/20 rule: on any project 80% of the work is done by 20% of the best developers, and the rest 20 is done by remaining 80. Let “s extrapolate these numbers on the entire software development world, and then apply the same 80/20 rule again to the group of 20% best developers. This will produce a much smaller number of software gurus. Now apply the 80/20 rule again to narrow down this group even further, and you “ll get a really small group of software wizards who know how to do things, do not mind sharing their knowledge with others, and know how share in a non-geeky way. In my opinion Joel Spolsky belongs to this tiny group.

My current client is located right by the Barnes and Noble store, and I visit it almost every day during the lunch time. Last week I picked from the very bottom shelf the book by Apress called Joel on Software . Yes, this is THE BOOK. This is a single book every software developer should always keep on the desk. Other books will come and go as needed. And it does not matter what programming language you use. This book is a collection of thoughts of a software wizard that can be used and re-used daily.

For example, read Joel “s article on interviewing techniques. This topic just can’t be covered better than this! Unfortunately, not too many hiring managers apply these rules. I usually hear something like this: “He “s a good candidate, knows Java, has the industry experience, but does not know EJBs (replace EJB with any other word) rdquo;. This is how managers are lowering the overall quality of their teams. Good teams consist of good people, and not of people who happened to know several technologies used on the current project.

Now let “s take the software project planning. The boss tells you that this new project starts tomorrow and it has to go in production in six months. Why in six? It does not sound reasonable. Here comes the manager “s lie: “The schedule came from above, and there is nothing we can do rdquo;. Your life would be much easier if he read the chapter from Joel “s book called Painless Software Schedules or this article.

Every Joel “s article is a jewel. Even though I do not agree with some of his advices , they are always well explained and fun to read. His blog was (is?) a must read for all Microsoft employees. Joel on Software is an entertaining book, written with a good sense of humor by a top-notch software professional living in a real world. Congratulations to Apress for having such an author!

Next month I “m planning to read a book called The Best Software Writing 1 (this one is edited by Joel Spolsky). Just can “t wait hellip;

And here “s the quiz. Re-read the first paragraph of this post. What “s the size (percent-wise) of this tiny group of software wizards?


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