5 Ways to Fail & Dilbert

Written by Brett Veenstra

Joel Spolksy, of Joel On Software fame, published an interesting Inc Magazine article yesterday. The article, titled “How Hard Could It Be?: Five Easy Ways to Fail”, covers a number of issues that we developers see from our side of a software project.

As I was reading this, I started remembering how intimidating Joel’s words can be:

You’ll never hear anyone say “the team was just not smart enough or talented enough to pull this off.” Why hurt their feelings? The simple fact is that if the people on a given project team aren’t very good at what they do, they’re going to come into work every day and yet–behold!–the software won’t get created.

I’m certainly NOT a Master (hence this blog), but just because you don’t have unicode decyphering, PDP-7 microprocessor-based C running through your veins does not make you a crappy dev. Nor, can a single person be both an expert in C, OOP, RDBMS, HTTP, Ruby, and .NET.

I did like the article though and here’s why: Joel’s message was really to business owners and managers, not us technical folks. He laid out very clearly that having good people do the work they are qualified to do, following a plan, with reasonable deliver-ables, and focused on quality can give you a successful project. He throws a few punches at Agile methodologies as well, but I would disagree with Greg that Joel doesn’t actually like Agile, in fact the new scheduling features of FogBugz 6.0 should allow any Agile team to easily maintain their own burndown chart.

And just another example of Scott Adams’ timeliness, here is today’s Dilbert:check out the Dilbert of the day.