Managing Software Jobs was:RE: email list for new programmers

  • From: "Chris Hofstader" <chris.hofstader@xxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <programmingblind@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Sat, 6 Oct 2007 19:34:33 -0400


I've been programming professionally since 1979 and as a hobbyist since I
was 11 years old at Lawrence Berkeley Labs in 1971.  I believe that I have
most definitely earned my veteran programmer stripes.  With that said,
though, although I mostly lurk on this list, I do not think that more than a
few days ever passes without me learning something new on this list.

Although I have been hacking since well before Sina was born, he has taught
me a lot about new technologies and other strategies for building software
using techniques more modern than those I grew up using.  Thus, I believe
that, at some level, we are all new programmers as none of us know
everything although some certainly act as if they believe they do.

I have led software development teams and entire departments.  My management
style was based upon a cross between matrix management (for those of you who
follow the Sloan School at MIT) and  Management by Walking Around (for those
of you who prefer Harvard).  Without going into a management seminar, I will
briefly describe how my "defer to the expert" system worked for us at FS.

Glen Gordon was and remains the FS CTO.  He knows a whole lot about a whole
lot.  Waishan Lau was, when I worked there, the youngest software engineer
when she joined us straight off the University of Florida (Go Gators!)

Not long after Waishan joined the team, she became the most expert person we
had on the build process, the various installers for our software (including
PAC Mate) and was the number two on the ILM authorization scheme. 

Within six months of Waishan joining the team, Glen Gordon would call her
with questions that fell into her area of expertise.  If Waishan had a
question, she might ask Carl who, when he needed help, might ask Marinelle
and so on around the 20+ software engineers we had there.

This level of cooperation both empowered the young, "new programmers" and
help eliminate the problem where a senior engineer would insist that a
junior hacker do something his or her way even if the kid's ideas are better
suited to completing a task.

I, as VP of the department at FS acted as the member of the team responsible
for the management tasks and insisted that the people on my staff challenge
any decision I might make if they felt I might be wrong.  This included
everyone from newly hired testers all the way up to Glen.  This is what made
us both innovative and smoothly functioning as a team and, contrary to what
you may think, caused each of us to respect the others on the team more than
I've seen in top down management schemes.

On this list, I've learned from long time hackers like Jamal, from kids like
Sina and Ace and from lots of others whose level of experience I don't know.

Also, sometimes a new programmer will ask a question that will fuel a
terrific discussion that will bring lots of other good ideas forward.  The
new programmers may be the most valuable assets we have on such a list.

I'll join the new programmer list not because I think I can do much
instruction but, rather, because I'll learn a lot there.

Happy Hacking,

-----Original Message-----
From: programmingblind-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
[mailto:programmingblind-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx] On Behalf Of alex
Sent: Saturday, October 06, 2007 3:24 PM
To: programmingblind@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
Subject: Re: email list for new programmers

Okay veterin programmer...
----- Original Message ----- 
From: <Tristan@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
To: <programmingblind@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Sent: Saturday, October 06, 2007 3:24 PM
Subject: Re: email list for new programmers

> Huh? Looser? Make sence for once Alex. And this list is for programmers, 
> not new-to-programmers...
> Tristan Bussiere
> Founder, ACE Games
> Skype: tristanbussiere
> MSN: Tristan@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
> ----- Original Message ----- 
> From: "alex" <laptop456@xxxxxxxxx>
> To: <programmingblind@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
> Sent: Saturday, October 06, 2007 3:15 PM
> Subject: Re: email list for new programmers
>>I am excited! As long as Tyler Littlefield (the go and figure it out you 
>>looser) does not join. I will enjoy hearing from you all.
>> ----- Original Message ----- 
>> From: "ryan mcmanomy" <kb9ram@xxxxxxxxx>
>> To: "Programming blind" <programmingblind@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
>> Sent: Saturday, October 06, 2007 3:12 PM
>> Subject: email list for new programmers
>>> If you are a new programmer be sure to joyn our new programmers list!
>>> A list for new programmers that are tired of ridicule.
>>> And those of us new programmers that want to be able to ask a question 
>>> and not be made to feel dumb.
>>> Or be told to Look it up on Gugle!
>>> If we could find it on our own why would we be emailing the list for 
>>> help.
>>> If you are a programmer and are willing to help us who are trying to 
>>> learn.
>>> then you are wellcome as well!
>>> to subscribe send a blank email to
>>> newprogrammers-subscribe@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx <
>>> to post to the list send your email to
>>> newprogrammers@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
>>> to unsubscribe send a blank email to
>>> newprogrammers-unsubscribe@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
>>>   Email
>>> kb9ram@xxxxxxxxx
>>> MSn
>>> r.mcmanomy@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
>>> Yahoo
>>> rmc_manomy
>>> Skype
>>> rmcmanomy1079
>>> __________
>>> View the list's information and change your settings at 
>>> //
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