I. M. Wright’s “Hard Code”

An opinion column for developers.Brutally honest, no pulled punches.

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  • Blog Post: Winning among friends

    There are plenty of ways to lose. People can be unlucky, unskilled, or unprepared. People can simply be overmatched. However, it takes a special kind of talent to lose in spite of having all the luck, skill, and preparation. These special losers have more than enough capability to overwhelm the competition...
  • Blog Post: Evil assumptions

    You work on big, important projects that involve many moving parts and many different teams. You work hard to deliver your piece on time and with high quality. No one can claim that you’re the one who held things up. No, it’s always those clueless, slow, self-centered, self-righteous, uncooperative...
  • Blog Post: Is it important?

    We’re getting into the midyear career discussion period at Microsoft. People do appreciate a career discussion with their manager, but most folks have another topic on their mind—how am I doing? Look, it’s not a mystery—you should already know. If you don’t know, you’re...
  • Blog Post: You're no bargain either

    “Can I talk to you about Bozo? He gets on people’s nerves. His communication style causes trouble. He’s bringing the whole team down. He’s a freaking clown.” If you’re a manager, you’ve probably heard this before. Every team seems to have its share of Bozos....
  • Blog Post: I messed up

    Ever make a bad mistake? One that makes you feel like there’s a hollow in your chest—you know you’ve messed up badly. Maybe you were even trying to do the right thing, but it just ended up wrong unintentionally. This happens to me regularly. It recently happened to a friend of mine—I...
  • Blog Post: Don't panic

    In my last column, " Spontaneous combustion of rancid management ," I talked about how managers should restrain themselves from randomizing their employees. But what if you are on the receiving end? As an employee, how do you best respond to a random request, or requests of any kind, that aren't directly...
  • Blog Post: The VP-geebees

    It's the end of the fiscal year. Most engineers associate this time with performance review season, but for principal-level engineers and higher it's also executive review season. Time to waste weeks of your life writing slides for executive presentations that will be rewritten five times before they...
  • Blog Post: I'm listening

    It's Midyear Career Discussion time at Microsoft. Perhaps you just finished, but more than likely you're still trying to squeeze yours in. How'd it go? How will it go? For you? For your manager? Well, that depends. It depends a bit on your prior performance and your manager's prior performance. It...
  • Blog Post: Lead, follow, or get out of the way

    We're closing in on midyear career discussions again. It's time to place your hopes and humility in the hands of your hierarchy. I still haven't recovered from the amputation of our midyear ratings, which allowed managers to send messages and employees to salvage careers after a temporary setback. They...
  • Blog Post: August 1, 2005: “Controlling your boss for fun and profit”

    I. M. Wright's "Hard Code" book excerpt There’s a great gesture you can do to show just how little you care about someone who is wallowing in self-pity. You lightly rub the tips of your thumb and forefinger together saying, “This is the world’s smallest violin playing, ‘My Heart Cries for You.’” ...
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