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11 May 2010

Joel on software - a summary: 2008

This is a summary for the blog by Joel Spolsky, Joel on Software, volume 2007. The summary for the years 2000-2010 can be found on the Joel on Software summary index page.

To attract the kids who are really interesting in programming, a programming-intensive BFA in Software Development should be created. -- Undergraduate programming.

Instead of imposing a statistically meaningless measurement of downtime, set up a program of continuous improvement. Ask "why" until you know what caused a problem and correct the root cause. -- Five whys

The Office binary formats are complex because the applications are ridiculously complex. Don't use it, let Office do the work for you (via COM automation) or use a simpler file format (like CSV or RTF). -- Why are the Microsoft Office file formats so complicated? (And some workarounds)

"Seeming impossible" is practically a requirement for a truly great innovation. Real innovation happens when someone tries anyway, overlooking an obvious flaw, and finds a way to make an idea work. -- Inspired Misfires

Employees didn't start the company and won't behave like people who did. -- Lessons I learned in the army

Consumers (= your wife) don’t give a flicking flick about your stupid religious enthusiasm for making web browsers which conform to some mythical, platonic "standard" that is not actually implemented anywhere. -- Martian headsets

A lot of good developers are working on hopeless and useless architecture astronomy because companies like Microsoft an Google are driven to grow at all cost, even though they can't think of a single useful thing to build for us. -- Architecture astronauts take over.

Don't disable options. Instead, show a message to the user why the action can't be completed. -- Blog post 2008/07/01.

Procedures need to be flexible, otherwise they can evolve into something that looks more like antagonism toward customers. -- Good System, Bad System.

The purpose of middle management is to create useful channels of communication. -- How I Learned to Love Middle Managers

If you're stuck, the "Hair on fire" strategy may help: do nothing except finish the project. -- Hair on fire.

Measuring performance and stimulating performance by commissions is tricky. Employees will figure out how to get the number you want at the expense of what you are not measuring. -- Sins of Commissions

A lot of the principles advocated by Joel Spolsky don't really matter for a project to be successful, as long as the people working on the project are smart and get things done. -- The Unproven Path.

If you are a student, to get the job you want: 1. schedule your interviews as close as possible. 2. Don't accept a forced deadline that prevents you from taking other interviews. 3. Or accept it only verbally and just cancel it if you get a better offer later. -- Exploding offer season.

Management should be an administrative function. Authority and respect are earned and not bestowed. -- My Style of Servant Leadership

Stop listening to Joel Spolsky. -- Amnesia.

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