Fixing Optional

A programmer waxes about great programmers:

It’s funny that non-programmers tend to perceive programmers as cocky and arrogant, when in my experience a programmer’s humility always increases with their skill. The best programmers I know are quick to admit their mistakes and trumpet their horrific learning experiences; they also tend to be some of the most cynical people I know, readily admitting to the inevitability of future catastrophic failures of their work product.

Ah, but fixing their mistakes. Therein lies the rub. In my experience, programmers often trumpet themselves as cynical and quality-minded, but point out an issue, and they’ll work hard to prove it’s your fault and then discuss the tradeoff in time and effort of actually fixing a problem. Before returning to their normally scheduled participation in the latest geek fad ancient wiseman board game.

In our experience, the best programmers are the cowed ones who are eager to please QA and avoid any of those confrontations and acrimonious lessons learned meetings that end up as lessons fading from our short term memories meetings. The ones whom you can call at six thirty in the morning and get problems fixed on production immediately, before the rest of the world knows they’re there. Not the ones who answer the phone and pass you off to the deployment specialist, who asks you to call the project manager, who tells you to call the developer, who asks if you’ve called the deployment specialist….

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