I. M. Wright’s “Hard Code”: A Decade of Hard-Won Lessons from Microsoft, Second Edition By Eric Brechner; Microsoft Press

Alastair Aitken 10 August 2011 0

Extracted from the Microsoft Developers Network blog I.M.Wright’s “Hard Code”, this book collates these sometimes confrontational essays on the development process, the people who develop software and the business of producing software.

Benford’s law of controversy states that “Passion is inversely proportional to the amount of real information available”; Eric Brechner’s alter-ego, I.M.Wright, often starts his essays with a rant, mostly against ignorance.  In “The Agile bullet” he suggests that neither the Agile method zealots nor the Agile method Luddites are right and that the true path lies somewhere in between.

The advice is often sage and, even after ten years, timeless.  The essay “Dev schedules, flying pigs, and other fantasies” starts with the quip:

‘A horse walks into a bar and says, “I can code that feature in two days.” Dev costing and scheduling is a joke.’

and the solution offered in June 2001 predates the widespread adoption of the concept of velocity to estimate development projects.

Is Microsoft, like, I.M.Wright, going through a mid-life crisis as cited in “Mid-life crisis” from 1 April 2007?  It’s a theme returned to in “NIHilism and other innovation poison” from 1 November 2008 where Microsoft’s seemingly reduced ability to innovate is given an airing.

With the IT press perception that the Microsoft star is fading, is I.M.Wright still relevant?  The advice errs very much on the side of common sense with a underlying theme of stepping away from dogma and applying considered thought – which for a thought-lead industry probably can’t be repeated often enough.

Disclosure: This book was provided as a review copy for the O’Reilly Media Blogger Reviewer Program.

Alastair Aitken (124 Posts)

As a contract developer and manager I’ve worked in a wide range of enterprises in a variety of countries where I’ve encountered everything from great work, awful work, bizarre work, all the way down to quasi-legal work. If you think that you recognise your own organisation within my articles then you’re undoubtedly wrong, where you work isn’t that unique.

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