An abstraction layer for managers

As much as I complain occasionally (like in my previous post about growing up to be programmers 😉 )  I do genuinely love my work.  I might not always love my job or where I work, or some of the things I am expected to do (or think), but when the code is flowing and the caffeine flows freely through my system its hard to imagine doing anything else.

I often thought heaven would be being able to work in an environment where programmers were really supported, respected and looked after.  That dream has a much fuller description now, and all I can say is – I want to work for Joel!

The Development Abstraction Layer – Joel on Software

Read the link for the full article. My favorite part is quoted below:

“A programmer is most productive with a quiet private office, a great
computer, unlimited beverages, an ambient temperature between 68 and 72
degrees (F), no glare on the screen, a chair that’s so comfortable you
don’t feel it, an administrator that brings them their mail and orders
manuals and books, a system administrator who makes the Internet as
available as oxygen, a tester to find the bugs they just can’t see, a
graphic designer to make their screens beautiful, a team of marketing
people to make the masses want their products, a team of sales people
to make sure the masses can get these products, some patient tech
support saints who help customers get the product working and help the
programmers understand what problems are generating the tech support
calls, and about a dozen other support and administrative functions
which, in a typical company, add up to about 80% of the payroll. It is
not a coincidence that the Roman army had a ratio of four servants for
every soldier. This was not decadence. Modern armies probably run 7:1.”

Think about it… our own office…. bringing us technical books… heaven on earth.

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2 thoughts on “An abstraction layer for managers

  1. I think its more the idea of that workplace that I was attracted to rather than the feasability of it actually working. Some part of me hopes that it would, given the right managers, however from what i’ve seen to date I’m not sure most managers would possess the humility it would require to see themselves as a support role to a programmer – or any traditional “underling.” Normally the corporate heirarchy works the other way around.

    Wouldn’t work in my current job in anycase as i’m currently both the main developer of our web systems and the administrator for the systems themselves – both my own and those created by others in the company. As Joel suggests, this means I have a lot less energy to put in my development work and it is a lot less productive than it otherwise would. Of course, i’m also more well rounded and understand the high-level view of our systems better as well.

    I’m not sure about Jason’s view. I’m glad its worked for him, however I suspect he is one of those rare people that is gifted in both the programming side of things and the marketing/business side. This isn’t always, or even commonly in my experience, the case. Places I have worked tend to work better when they understand their employees strengths and weaknesses and define their roles accordingly.

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