Management

Finishing Software Is Hard (And If You’re Managing Software Projects, It’s Your Job)

The Last 10% Is Hard

“The first 90 percent of the code accounts for

the first 90 percent of the development time.

The remaining 10 percent of the code accounts

for the other 90 percent of the development time”

— Tom Cargill, Bell Labs (ancient software

wisdom — if you know an Agile equivalent,

I’d love to hear it)

The last 10% of a software project, is hard. It just is.

There’s nowhere to move the deadlines — time’s up. The thing you are building, which used to feel like a set of well-understood building blocks, now streams towards you in an endless river of barely connected details. UX wording needs to be exactly right; reliability, which was “good enough for beta” now needs to be 100%; that niggling bug everybody has been working around for weeks needs to go away, today; a feature that you thought worked great is missing something — not clear what it is, but it is clear that the beta users have to have it; the CEO has an idea and…

The more you do it, more you learn to pattern match on traps you’ve fallen into in the past. But I’m not sure anybody ever learns enough to bring their projects into the final deadline smoothly and without stress. (Maybe you do — if so, let everybody know your secret). There’s something more fundamental going on here.

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Incredibly Simple Rules for Story-Telling

Here’s a thing that happened: we were looking for a great engineer to work on device drivers (yes, this was a long time ago). D showed up, did a great interview, and I hired him.

Here’s the story about the thing that happened: I was doing interview after interview for a great low-level engineer. I was tired of it, bored. D’s resume was sparse, but he’d written his own game, so I thought, well, maybe, sure, give him twenty minutes. D showed up to our exposed-brick, cool warehouse space wearing a suit, which was very weird, and looking like some kind of male model, which for a game coder was weirder. My skepticism increased. I looked at my watch. D started to describe his game.

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Incredibly Simple Rules for One On Ones

This post is one in the “Incredibly Simple Management” series, dedicated to stripping great management down to the fundamentals you need to get it done.

As with any leadership activity, things are moving on two tracks: management – the art of controlling time and resources; and leadership – the art of connecting, motivating and serving people.

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Incredibly Simple Meeting Rules

This post is one in the “Incredibly Simple Management” series, dedicated to stripping great management down to the fundamentals you need to get it done.

Meetings are necessary. The purpose of an organization is to have people work together. The purpose of leadership is to have people work together as effectively as possible. Well-run meetings are the most effective way to coordinate and motivate a group of people. Poorly run meetings are one of many terrific ways of doing the opposite.

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