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Overdoing the perks in IT

July 16, 2014 2 Comments
Overdoing the perks in IT

Rachel Feintzeig at the New York Times has an interesting piece on how the perk-rich environment of Silicon Valley is causing problems¬†for non-SV companies: Years ago, it was just Silicon Valley firms that vied to outdo one other on perks, but as more companies go on the hunt for skilled workers to power their technology, […]

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Remember Conway’s Law

October 8, 2013 11 Comments
Remember Conway’s Law

Some years ago, I was called in to lead a team of three other people in reviewing a major project at a Fortune 50 corporation. This project, which I’ll call QUBE, was a major end-to-end re-engineering of that firm’s mission-critical systems, intended to replace all the existing legacy systems. The QUBE project was supposed to […]

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How to retain IT talent with goal alignment

September 16, 2013 2 Comments
How to retain IT talent with goal alignment

Back in 1990, I was hired by the principals of a start-up company (Pages Software) to build an engineering team from scratch to create a new product: a design-oriented word processor. For more than a year and a half, I acted both as head of engineering and as chief software architect — a dual role […]

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“The Real Software Crisis” [BYTE Magazine, January 1996]

September 13, 2013 1 Comment
“The Real Software Crisis” [BYTE Magazine, January 1996]

[This commentary of mine, published in the January 1996 edition of BYTE Magazine (p. 218), used to be available on-line at BYTE.com, but no longer is, so I've re-posted it here. In the 17 years since I wrote it, I've seen nothing to change my mind.] The shortage of top-notch programmers threatens to become the […]

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Septic code: why some large IT projects never go into production

September 12, 2013 4 Comments
Septic code: why some large IT projects never go into production

A common pattern in the failure of large IT software projects is “the Never-Ending Story”, which I described back in 2000¬†(PDF) as follows: The client contracts with the manufacturer to develop and install a system. The project starts. The completion date slips. It keeps slipping. Each time the adjusted delivery date approaches, the project slips […]

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