Reflections on leaving MegaCorp

To the person who next sits at this desk;

I have worked at MegaCorp on and off since 2002. This time I’m leaving and I won’t be back.

If I had a magic wand to fix I wish you If you (the person finding this note)

More than a code-review tool we need better code reviews

The tools are amazing. You can link them to your source repository and insert review comments almost anywhere. You can have a complete conversation about specific lines of code and perform many kinds of wizardry. But the tools don’t force developers to review thoughtfully and respectfully.


More than a wiki we need developers to learn to write well

Where writing well is measured by clarity and relevance, not by words per hour.

More than project meetings we need everyone to communicate well

If we communicated well we wouldn’t need most of the meetings we have. If you read this and wonder when this communication would happen if not in meetings, you are part of the problem.

More than accurate estimates we need to manage risks better

Sorry, it just isn’t sensible to derive a “contingency” number from a risk, add it to the original estimate and then proceed as if the risk has been dealt with.

More than risk-averse change-management processes we need a better appreciation of our existing technical debt

You see that look on your principal developer’s face? He’s just been told to fix a memory leak in [legacy product X]. That means he knows the code behind it is a huge pile of impenetrable crap. When you see that look, all bets are off. He’s bailing out the Costa Concordia with a teaspoon.

More than extra resources we need better qualified and experienced people

Have we learned nothing from 40+ years of throwing more and more people at failing projects?



Posted in Programming, Software Management

Ed Guiness

I am the author of Ace the Programming Interview, published 2013 by John Wiley and Sons. In 2012 I founded, a volunteering organisation for programmers. I have been a professional programmer for more than 20 years, and a hiring manager since 2004.

Ask me anything.