Jerry Weinberg Conferece

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Transcript of Jerry Weinberg Conferece

  • ReadingInterview with Jerry Weinbergby Clay Shannon2009.12.22Weinberg Conference TokyoKenji HIRANABE

  • 20035Clay Shannon email Clay Shannona Borland and PDA-certified Delphi 5 developer and the author of "Tomes of Delphi: Developer's Guide to Troubleshooting (Wordware, 2001)

    http://edn.embarcadero.com/article/30051

  • (Project)(Program,Programming)(Life)

  • Weinberg

  • Interview with Jerry Weinberg by Clay Shannon

  • (1)

    ?

    Jerry, many of your books, such as The Psychology of Computer Programming and The Secrets of Consulting, are considered to be among the best and most important programming books ever written. Which one[s] do you consider your best, and why?

  • Comparison like this is silly. A book is good or bad only in relation to a reader's particular needs at a given time. Besides, it's like asking me which of my four grandchildren is best.

    4

  • (2)

    ?

    I was especially influenced by many of your "laws" in "The Secrets of Consulting", such as Rudy's Rutabaga Rule ("Once you eliminate your number one problem, number two gets a promotion") and The Titanic Effect ("The thought that disaster is impossible often leads to an unthinkable disaster"). Do you continue to come up with new "laws" such as these?

  • Yes.

    (One of my laws says don't ask yes/no questions in interviews.)

    . Yes/No

  • (3)

    ?

    How do you get ideas for new books?

  • A better question would be "how could someone avoid getting ideas for new books." All you have to do is look around at what people don't seem to know that they ought to know to do their jobs. This technique is particularly simple in the software business, as we are so young, so adolescent.

    ?

  • (4)

    ?

    How do you divide your time between consulting, training, and writing?

  • For most of my career, I'd say it's been about equal for each of the three, but that doesn't tell much, as consulting and training give me material for writing, training and writing give me insights for consulting, and consulting and writing are what make my training and consulting sensible and relevant.

  • (1)

    ?

    What do you consider the most important thing for a programmer to do when he begins working on a new project?

  • He? I don't think men and women should prepare for programming differently. I think each should be sure they are in good physical condition without nagging psychological problems. If you program from an off center place, your programs will be off the mark.

    (He)?

  • (2)

    ?

    What do you consider the most important thing for a programmer to do when he begins working on a project that has already begun?

  • She should get sufficient information to decide, before signing on, whether she should sign on. Most programming projects that fail have already failed before most of the programmers have signed on, but through lack of courage or due diligence, many programmers sign on anyway. It's like doctors agreeing to do surgery on corpses.

  • (3)

    ?

    What do you consider the most important thing for the project manager to do when a new team member comes on board a project?

  • Be sure that the person becomes a real team member, rather than just a body assigned to a particular group. There are many parts to this task, almost none of which are ever done.

  • (4)

    ?

    What do you consider the most important thing for existing team members to do when a new team member comes on board a project?

  • Whatever is necessary for them to welcome this person as a member of their team. Of course, if they're not really a team already (but just called a "team"), then they won't be able to do this job, since nobody can become a member of a team that's not really a team.

  • (5)

    ?

    What do you consider the most important thing to do at the conclusion of a project?

  • Finish it. All of it.

    You might have expected me to say, "learn from it," and that's a good answer except that it applies at all times in a project, not just at the conclusion.

  • (1)

    ?

    Would you recommend a career in programming to young people today?

  • It depends on what the young person wants to do. I always give the same career recommendation: "Do what you want to do."

  • (2)

    ??

    What courses would you recommend they take? What languages / technologies should they key on?

  • They shouldn't key on languages and technologies. They should key on learning to communicate, to think, and to work well with other people. Once they have those, the languages and technologies become simple matters. Without them, no amount of language or technology expertise will do much good.

  • (3)

    Who do you consider to be the best programmer you know personally, or know of?

  • One of my students once told me that Bill Gates was the world's greatest programmer. I asked why, and he explained that Bill Gates was the richest person in the world, so he must be the best programmer.

    After that, I stopped attempting to answer this silly question. Either it's Gates (by the money criterion) or else there are so many with different skills that comparison would be meaningless).

    ()

  • (1)

    ?

    If you weren't a consultant, what do you think you'd be doing for a living?

  • I don't do consulting for a living. For a living, I depend on all the royalties I've saved. I've never done anything for a living. I've done what I loved doing, and, as the book says, the money followed. (Besides, I don't have expensive tastes.)

  • (2)

    ?

    If you could live anywhere on earth at any time, when and where would it be, and why?

  • Right here, right now. Why? Because if you don't live in the moment, it's not living.

    ?

  • (3)

    30?

    If you were given 30 seconds of free television air time, to be broadcast all throughout the earth, and could say anything you wanted, what would it be?

  • "Turn off this TV and play with your kids."

  • ?

    ?

  • We talked about our own stories related to our favorite Weinbergs books.

  • ReadingInterview with Jerry Weinbergby Clay Shannon2009.12.22Weinberg Conference TokyoKenji HIRANABE