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The Best Software Writing I. Selected and Introduced by Joel Spolsky


ERIC SINK 253 The very worst kind of manager is the one who feels threatened by his team. Consciously or not, he is afraid Of those whO are "the very best," so he consistently staffs his team with people who will not chal- lenge him. I suppose he might be able t0 get away with this in a big company. After all, I doubt that the Pointy-Haired Boss in the Dilbert comic strip was created With no source Of inspiration at all. But things are very different in the world of small software compa- nies. If you are the founder or "chief geek" in your small ISV, take a careful, honest, and objective 100k at yourself. If you are the type 0f per- son wh0 feels threatened by your own staff, stop and rethink. Until you move yourself past this problem, you have exactly zero chance 0f build- lng an effective team. The real point of the usual advice is not tO inflate our egos—lt is tO remind us that we should not be afraid t0 search for the best people. But we still need a more specific understanding Of what the word "best" really means. Look for SeIf-Awareness The "very best" people never stop learning. When I evaluate a candidate, one of the most important criteria IS what I call "the first derivative. ' ' ls this person learning? ls this candi- date moving forward, or have they stagnated?(For more 0f my thoughts on this topic, see the 。 。 Career Calculus" article on my weblog. 8) people WhO are seriously focused on their own future success are very likely tO be successful. This is Often the strongest predictive indicator in the hiring process. l'm not saymg you should just hire people wh0 want t0 succeed. Everybody wants to succeed. l'm talking about hiring people who are 8. See http://software.ericsink.com/Career Calculus. html.

The Best Software Writing I. Selected and Introduced by Joel Spolsky


Eric S 切 た CLOSING THE GAP, PART 2 ast month we introduced a concept that I call "the gap 1 Pro duct Customer This gap is the distance between the prospective customer and your product. As long as it continues tO exist, your customer has less soft 、 vare and you have less money. ln order for the sale to occur, this gap must be closed. Until that happens, the gap represents all of the issues and obsta- cles that are preventing the customer from making the purchase. As Chief SaIes Geek in your ISV, it is your responsibility to figure out how this gap is going to get closed. You have exactly two ways to do it: ・ Move your product to the right. ・ 、 åove your customer to the left. Last month, we talked about 、 proactive sales," or "moving your cus- tomer to the left. " This month, we will talk about the other way of closing the gap: moving your product t0 the right. 1. Eric Sink, 、 、 CIosing the Gap, Part 2 , " Eric. WebIog() (http ://software.ericsink.com/, May 10 , 2004. See http://software.ericsink.com/bos/C10sing the Gap_Part 2. html.

The Best Software Writing I. Selected and Introduced by Joel Spolsky


164 THE BEST SOFTWARE WRITING I tO the management team. Shortly after the meeting started, Janice asked Sue how she would rank her team members. Sue took a deep breath, got a smile 0f encouragement from Wayne, and explained how the whole idea of ranking made no sense for a team effort, especially in an Agile environment. She explained how she had asked for advice from the team and ended up with an angry and susplcious team. "You should never have talked to the team about this, " said Janice. 。 。 Ho 旧 on a minute," Wayne jumped in. "I thought our goal in this company IS tO be fair. { 0 Ⅵ , can 、 keep our evaluation POlicies secret and expect people tO consider them fair? lt doesn't matter if we think they are fair; it matters if employees think they are fair. If we think we can keep what we are dOing a secret, we're kidding ourselves. ・ We need tO be transparent about how we operate; we can't make decisions behind closed doors and then try to tell people, 'Don't worry, we're being fair. ' " Sue was amazed at hOW fast the nature 0f the discussron changed after Wayne jumped to her defense. ApparentIy, she wasn't the only one who thought this ranking business was a bad idea. Everyone agreed that Sue's team had done an excellent job, and the new product was key to their business. No one had thought that it could be done, and indeed the team as a WhOle had far exceeded everyone's expectations. lt became ap- parent that there wasn't a person in the room who was willing to sort out whO had contributed more or less to the effort, so sue's top evalua- tion for every team member was accepted. 、 åore important, the group was concerned that a de-motivated team was a senous れ . Eventually, the vice president agreed to go to the next meeting of the team and discuss the company's evaluation policies. sue was sure that this would go a long way tO revitalize the team spirit. NOW the management team members had a problem of their own. They knew that they had to live within a merit pay system, but they sus- pected they needed to rethink the way it was implemented. Since changes like that don't happen overnight, they formed a committee to 100k intO var10us evaluation and pay systems. The committee started by agreeing that evaluation systems should not be used to surprise employees with unexpected feedback about their performance. Performance feedback 100PS must be far shorter than annual, or even quarterly, evaluation cycles. Appraisals are good times

The Best Software Writing I. Selected and Introduced by Joel Spolsky


CORY DOCTORO ′ 55 anada is strongly considering ratifying the 1996 WIPO "lnternet Treaties. ” These are the treaties that caused the United States to implement the loathsome Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), and they've wrought untold damage around the world. What will this mean for Canada ?Well, for starters, the G / 0 わ ビ の Ma 〃 notes that a notice-and-takedown reglme IS lnevitable: ln what iS bound tO be a controversial element, the committee recommended that lnternet service providers (ISPs) must be held liable for copyrighted material that goes through their systems. To be exempt from that liability, the lSPs must show they are acting as true 。 、 intermediaries," without actual or constructive knowledge Of the content. ISPs should be required to comply with a 、 、 notice and takedown" system against subscribers whO violate copyright laws. Boing Boing's mcomparable sysadmin, Ken Snider, a Canadian geek, wrote lt is extremely important tO me that our government not bow to ClRA. I have high hopes that the current minority gov't means they won't deal with this anytime soon, but I *want* tO get the message out tO every damned MP I can get my hands on. The problem is, I don't have any *specific* informa- tion on these provisions. I was hoping you would, or at least, could point me in the right direction ()r even champion the cause with me! ・ W ( ) 0 ! ). lt's *critically* important t0 me that Canada doesn't follow the US in this process. l'm prepared tO dO whatever it takes tO make the reasons *why* this is a shitty idea known, I just need some help making my points clear and con- crse, as well as containing the appropriate amount 0f 、 、 politik" that they'll make a difference. SO, Ken, here are some ans 、 for you. Copyright is a system for regulating technology—it regulates tech- nologies used t0 make and distribute copies. 嶬 have lots 0f technology regulation in the world: there are rules that govern the operation Of automobiles and rules that govern the marketing Of electrical appliances. ThiS isn't wrong per se.

The Best Software Writing I. Selected and Introduced by Joel Spolsky


X ABOUT THE AUTHORS semrnars tO corporations and government agencles worldwide. ln addi- tion, Michael has presented at national conferences on strategy, SOft 、 and computer simulation. Rory Blyth works for Microsoft as a corporate stooge. ln his spare time, he keeps a blog at www.neopoleon.com/ ponders the unlverse, and consid- ers himself to be one of the three missing Sankara stones, although he probably isn't, but it makes him feel better about being so bloody lnsignificant. Adam Bosworth joined Google recently as vice president of engineering ・ He came to Google from BEA, where he was chief architect and senior VP of advanced development and responsible for driving the engineering efforts for BEA's Framework Division. Prior to J0ining BEA, he cofounded Crossgarn, a software development firm acquired by BEA. Known as one Of the pioneers Of XML, he held various senior manage- ment positions at Microsoft, including general manager Of the ・ WebData group, a team focused on defining and driving XML strategy. 市 ile at Microsoft, he was responsible for designing and delivering the Microsoft Access PC Database product and assembling and driving the team that developed lnternet Explorer 4.0 ' s HTML engine. danah boyd is a PhD student in the School of lnformation Management and Systems at the University 0f California, Berkeley, where she studies hOW people negotiate a presentation Of self in mediated social contexts tO unknown audiences using ethnographic methods. She is particularly inter- ested in how youth develop a culturally situated understanding of self and the role of technology in this process. Prior to BerkeIey, danah received a master's in sociable media from the MIT Media Lab and a bachelor's in computer SC1ence from Brown University. Her work has ranged from psy- chological studies 0f how depth cue prioritization is dependent on levels Of sex hormones tO design installations Of interactive SOCial visualizations. danah blogs extensively at Apophenia (www.zephoria.org/thoughts) and Many-t0-Many ( 鼎w.corante.com/many). Raymond Chen has worked in Microsoft's ・ Windows division since 1992 and has seen a 10t 0f things come and go. His blog deals with the history ofWindows and the dying art of Win32 programming.

The Best Software Writing I. Selected and Introduced by Joel Spolsky


296 INDEX importance Of product/program managers, 144 product development schedule overruns, 145 reqmrement for verSIOn control and bug tracking tools, 143 state of being screwed, 141 team forward velocity, 149 engmeering manager, JOb characteristics, 140 ergonomics, transrtion tO, 183 Excel as a database avoidance t001 , 17 expenence, learning from, 173 ー Experiences in Groups, 187 Extreme Programming, 126 Federalist Papers # 10 and 80 Slashdot moderation system, 217 federated identity, 40 Ferguson, Don, 24 firing, hiring vs. , 247 ー 48 flame wars, 212 , 213 flexibility, success due to, 41 Flickr, 195 FogBugz bug tracking software, 152 FORTRAN, use of whitespace, internal architecture, 90 future development plans, 85 Ftrain. C01れ Fries, Ed, 175 Friendster, 41 Friedman, Daniel, 267 Fowler, Martin, 70 , 126 5 internal software technologies, 82 future software as SOCiaI solutions, 43 games, shelflife, 49 gaming the system in performance measurement, 151 Gap, software sale gap, 223 , 233 Gates, Bill, 26 , 189 Gettysburg Address PowerPoint slide link, 264 role of core group, 201 patterns, 189 , 190 separate modes, 196 networking simultaneous inattention, 215 negatlve attentlon VS. learning from experience, 193 large vs. small groups, 195 horror 0f censorship, 216 Microsoft example, 189 enemies, Bill Gates and door culture, 216 groups, 193 constltutional criSIS online Bion's theories, 187 group lnteractlon group based software design, 184 search, 7 Google vs. Microsoft Windows interface, 114 Google Gmail, application demotivator, 161 goals, impossible, as employee Gillmor, Steve, 32

The Best Software Writing I. Selected and Introduced by Joel Spolsky


158 THE BEST SOFTWARE WRITING I T he team had done an incredible job, and they knew it. lteration by iteration they had built a new software product, and when the dead- line came, everything that had to be operational was working flawlessly. At an afternoon celebration, the division vice president thanked everyone whO had contributed tO the effort, and the team members congratulated one another as they relived some Of the more harrowing moments of the last six months. The MorningAfter The next day, the team's Scrum Master2 was catching up on long- ignored email when Dave, the development manager, called. 。 。 Say, sue,' he said, "great job your team did! l've been waiting for the product launch before I bothered you with this, but the appraisal deadline is next week. I need your evaluation of each team member. And if you could, l'd like you tO rank the team from whO contributed the most do 、 Ⅵ 1 to who contributed the least. ” Sue could almost hear the air escaprng as her world deflated. "I can't do that," she said. "Everyone pitched in 100 percent. We could not have done it otherwise. ln fact, collaboration is at the core of our Agile process. "But Sue, ' ' Dave said, "there must have been a most valuable player, a runner-up, and SO on. "NO, not really," Sue replied. 。 。 But what I can do is evaluate every- one's contribution tO the effort. Sue filled out an appraisal input form for each team member. She rated everyone's performance but found that she had to check the "far exceeded expectations" bOX for each team member. After all, getting out the product on time was a spectacular feat, one that far exceeded every- one S expectatlons. 2. Scrum is one of those trendy AgiIe methodologies. ー Ed.

The Best Software Writing I. Selected and Introduced by Joel Spolsky


MARY POPPENDIECK 161 Dysfunction # 2 : The Perception ofUnfairness There is no greater demotivator than a reward system that is perceived tO be unfair. lt doesn't matter whether the system is fair or not. If there is a perception Of unfairness, then those whO think that they have been treated unfairly will rapidly lose their motivation. people perceive unfairness when they mlSS out on rewards they think they should have shared. What if the vice president had given Sue a big reward but not rewarded the team? Even if Sue had acknowledged the hard work of her team members, they would probably have felt that she was profiting at their expense. You can be sure that Sue would have had a difficult time generating enthusiasm for work on the next release, even if the evaluation issues had not surfaced. Here's another scenano: what would have happened if Sue's team had been asked out to dinner with the VP and each member had been given a good-sized bonus? The next day the operations people wh0 worked late nights and weekends t0 help get the product out on time would have found out and felt cheated. The developers who took over maintenance tasks SO their colleagues could work full time on the prod- uct also would have felt slighted. Other teams might have felt that they could have been equally successful, except that they got assigned t0 the wrong product. Dysfunction # 3 : The Perception oflmpossibility sue's team met its deadline by following the Scrum practice 0f releasing a high-quality product containing only the highest-priority functionality. But let's try a different scenario: let's assume that the team was gwen a non-negotiable list 0f features that had t0 be done bY a non-negotiable deadline, and let's further speculate that the team was 100 percent

The Best Software Writing I. Selected and Introduced by Joel Spolsky


170 THE BEST SOFTWAREWRITING I best, they wanted to work with the best, and they did not appreciate the implication that some Of them were better than Others. ・ When the VP left, the team cheered Sue for sticking up for them and then got down t0 work with renewed enthusiasm. 、 OW: , tWO releases later, the customers were showing their appreciation with their pocketbooks. There haven't been any dramatic pay lncreases and only the occa- sional, well-deserved promotion; however, the company has expanded its training budget, and team members have found themselves mentoring other teams. Sue is rather proud 0f them all as she fills out the newly revised appraisal input forms, which have more team-friendly evalua- tion criteria. This time, Sue is confident that her judgment will not be questioned.

The Best Software Writing I. Selected and Introduced by Joel Spolsky


Vi CONTENTS M / 訪 / “ Ra 〃 ホ ” L 叩 々 La 〃 ア Os 川 4 れ Gregor Ho わ 々 ビ Ro れ / e が お Eric / 0 わ 〃 so 〃 E じ も ゆ 々 e な Starbucks Does Not Use Two-Phase Passion Commlt byTest Metrics Doesn't Engineering # 2 : MeasuringTesters Larry's Rules 0fS0ftware What to Do When You're Screwed ItTake to Change a Lightbulb? How Many Microsoft EmpIoyees Does C + + —The Forgotten Tro 」 an Horse M40 Po 々 々 市 師 た Team Compensation R た た S 訪 4 C ア S ん 黻 ァ CIay S ん ァ E じ S た E じ S た E じ S た Aa 0 れ S ル 4 て Mac Word 6.0 A Group lts Own Worst Enemy . Group as User: Flaming and the Design 0fSocial Software Closing the Gap, Part 1 Closing the Gap, Part 2 Hazards 0fHiring PowerPoint Remix ル 舫 好 旅 A Quick (and Hopefully Painless) Ride Through Ruby (with Cartoon Foxes) lndex . 1 1 9 . 125 . 129 . 135 . 139 . 1 51 . 1 57 . 293 . 267 . 261 . 247 . 233 . 223 . 21 1 . 1 83