I. M. Wright’s “Hard Code”

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

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  • Blog Post: On budget

    When you become a dev manager, new responsibilities may arise that you are utterly unprepared to handle. I’m talking about recruiting, firing and layoffs, vendor management, and budgeting. You get very limited exposure to these duties prior to becoming a manager, and as a techie you took roughly...
  • Blog Post: To be precise

    On August 5, 2012, the NASA rover Curiosity completed its six-month journey from Earth to Mars, touching down near the middle of its roughly 40-square-mile targeted landing area. Many news outlets compared the landing to making a hole-in-one at a Scotland golf course after teeing off in Los Angeles....
  • Blog Post: You can't have it all

    There are two executive planning strategies: go for it all (cut later), and do a few things well (add later). Executives follow the strategy that best reflects their belief system. They use that planning strategy to drive work throughout the product cycle. Executives who go for it all believe their...
  • Blog Post: Out of focus

    Are you sensing a rush coming as we complete midyear career discussions at Microsoft and head into the stretch toward annual reviews? Worried about keeping up with your peers when you already have far too much to do and far too little time in which to do it? Feeling lost already? Please. Get a grip and...
  • Blog Post: Who’s in charge here?

    I was talking with a friend from another Microsoft division. He complained about gridlock on his team because “no one can make a decision.” He lamented, “We discuss issues and come to some conclusions, but rarely get a resolution that sticks.” I bit my tongue. He is a friend....
  • Blog Post: Coordinated agility

    I’ve been using Scrum for seven years and writing about it for the last six. Scrum’s concept is fantastic—multidiscipline, self-directed teams, iterating on short scenarios (stories), in small batches from start to finish, within short, fixed-length, continuous-improvement cycles. Given the success many...
  • Blog Post: Right on schedule

    My older son can now drive. This adds two new worries to my life—how ancient I feel and thoughts of my son in a ditch somewhere. To mitigate the second worry, my wife and I enforce a curfew and insist my son call if he's running late. The other night, he arrived home 20 minutes late without notice. My...
  • Blog Post: It starts with shipping

    Call me "old school" but I believe in shipping. Trying isn't enough. Getting close isn't enough. Good ideas aren't enough. You've got to ship. It used to be that interviews started with, "What have you shipped?" If you hadn't shipped recently, "Why?" Why? Because you can't deliver customer value if...
  • Blog Post: I would estimate

    When I'm discussing challenges with fellow engineers, the first topic that comes up isn't estimation—it's career and people challenges. That's why those issues are so rampant in these rants. However, "How do you generate task estimates?" is always among the top non-moaning-about-your-manager-or-mates...
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