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Contents of

Roundtable on Technical Leadership:
A SHAPE Forum Dialogue

edited by Gerald M. Weinberg,
Marie Benesh
and James Bullock

ISBN: 978-0-932633-51-4  
©2002  176 pages   softcover  
$15.95 (plus shipping)

Subject(s): Communication Skills, Programming, Software Project Management, Technical Leadership

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Contributors xi

Preface xxv

Series Preface xxvii

Introduction 1

• The Thread 1

1        Tricks That Ignore Those Who Come After

• The Thread 6
• Hard-Coding Information That Will Change in the Future 6
• Failing to Clean Up Temporary Code 7
• Making Comments Impossible to Ignore 8
• Overloading the Value of an Identifier 9
• Overloading the Mind of the Writer or the Reader 10
• Creating Cryptic or Cute Variable Names 11
•Using One Argument to Change the Meaning of Another 11
• Naming with Too Much (or Too Little) English 12
• Casting Types: Smart or Stupid? 13
• Building Monolithic Code 14
• Disregarding the Difficulty of Maintenance 16
• Lessons 18

2        Tricks That Destroy Portability 19

• The Thread 20
• Embedding Machine Dependencies in What Looks Like Portable Code 20
• Depending on the Permanence of Message Texts 21
• Inventing Your Own Programming Language 22
• Depending on Internal Compiler Details 23
• Using Half-Significant Things That Could Become Significant 24
• Arbitrarily Limiting a Tool's Capacity 27
• Optimizing for Something You've Got Lots Of 27
• Ignoring Compiler Warnings 28
• Lacking -- or Ignoring -- Information from the Compiler 29
• Depending on the Compiler to Be Consistent Across Environments 31
• Not Imposing Controls Over the Installation Process 32
• Lessons 33

3        Stupid Design Tricks 34

• The Thread 35
• Failing to Design Your Program Before You Code It 35
• Failing to Consider at Least Three Design Alternatives 37
• Making it Overly Complex 37
• Designing Without Thinking 39
• Missing the Key Driver of Risk 41
• Being Penny-Wise and Pound-Foolish on Moral Grounds 41
• Failing to Think in Terms of Trade-Offs 42
• Binding Too Early or Too Late 43
• Writing a Program When No Program Is Needed 45
• Lessons 47

4        Stupid Design Document Tricks 48

• The Thread 49
• Leaving No Design Artifacts and No Garbage 49
• Mistaking Documents for Documentation 51
• Coding from the Wrong Type of Document 52
• Mistaking Documents for the Design 53
• Failing to Design Your Documents 54
• Simple for the Programmer; Incomprehensible to the User 55
• Thinking "I'll Be Gone By Then" 57
• Lessons 60

5        Tricks Arising From Social Inadequacy 61

• The Thread 62
• Career Development Through Co-Dependencey 62
Using Technical Tricks to Avoid Social Situations 62
Not Documenting Your Assumptions 63
Not Asking for Help 64
• Preventing Others from Learning, by Being Impatient 65
Failing to Notice Your Fault Feedback Ratio and to Do Something About It 66
Not Documenting Why Choices Were Made 66
Lack of Feedback Doesn't Necessarily Mean the Code Was Good 67
Let Your Tools Do Their Work 68
Keeping in the Stuff That's Corrected by Other Stuff 69
Replacing One Big Mess with an Unending Series of Small Messes 71
Give a Fresh Start When Needed 73
Failing to Use Your Own Product 73
Lessons 75

6        Experts and Gurus as Leaders 76

• The Thread 77
"Guru" As a Degrading Term 77
Not Labeling, but Hypothesizing 79
Be an Expert Who Can Teach Expertness 79
Be Recognized by Other Gurus as a Guru 80
Transcend the Realities Others Live In 81
Know the Difference Between the Map and the Territory 82
Be Content to Be Content 84
• Be Accessible and Humble 84
Be Emotional 85
• Lessons 87

7        The Leader as Learner 88

• The Thread 89
Learn at a High Level 89
• Be Both Inventive and Traditional 90
• Immerse Yourself in a Virtuous Learning Cycle 90
• Have Personal Experience 91
• Be Self-Aware 92
• Be Able to Communicate Your Expertise 93
• Be a Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment 94
• Do Not Need to Be Omnipotent 95
• Remember That There Are Some Things Even a Guru Can't Do 95
• Lessons 96

8        The Expert as Teacher 97

• The Thread 98
Provide More Choices 98
Provide Distinctions 98
Let Them Experience Their Own Experience 99
Provide a Discovery Trail 100
Don't Confuse Beginners 101
• Be Up-Front with Oversimplification 103
Select Students 103
• Engage Each Learner 105
Connect with the Learners Where They Are 106
Teach on a "Pay as You Go" Plan 108
Provide the Questions, Not the Answers 110
Have a Sense of Timing 112
Help People Discover What They Already Know 114
Lessons 115

9        The Courage to Teach in Any Direction 116

• The Thread 117
• Give Your Boss Some Credit 117
Balance Self-Worth and Safety 119
Luck Is Always a Factor (Especially If You Help) 120
Don't Confuse Courageous with Dumb 121
Is What You're Getting Worth What You're Paying? 123
Plant a Seed; Cultivate; Be Patient 124
See Them As Human Beings 126
Lessons 127

10        The Courage To Be Yourself 128

• The Thread 129
Don't Try to Be a Generation Younger 130
Dress to Make Both of You Comfortable 132
By and Large, They'll Have to Resolve Their Own Chaos 132
If It's Not a Good Fit, Don't Do It 133
• Adapt in Order to Communicate 135
• Is It the Hair, or Is It the Arrogance? 135
• Who You Are Is More Important Than What You Wear 136
• Lessons 137

Bibliography 139

Index 141

Go to the Book Page

Table of Contents
Excerpt: "The Courage to Be Yourself"
Author Interview

Dorset House Catalog
This Book's Flyer

By this Author
Roundtable on Project Management: A SHAPE Forum Dialogue

Also Recommended

Becoming a Technical Leader: An Organic Problem-Solving Approach, by Gerald M. Weinberg

Dr. Peeling's Principles of Management, by Nic Peeling
Quality Software Management, Vol. 3: Congruent Action, by Gerald M. Weinberg
Understanding the Professional Programmer, by Gerald M. Weinberg
What Every Programmer Should Know About Object-Oriented Design, by Meilir Page-Jones

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