Don’t Mix Experience Levels

Forrest Christian Computers/IT Leave a Comment

“Systems development surprise” by Allan E. Alter. COMPUTERWORLD, 1996 Feb 12.

Alter reported on results that came out of a study done by P. J. Guinan, Jay Cooperider and S. Sawyer [“The effective use of automated application development tools”, IBM Systems Journal, 36(1), 1997 — although it may be “Software development: Processes and performance“, IBM Systems Journal, 37(4), 1998]. They found that development teams that are made up of a mix of experience don’t succeed as often as teams of similar experience. Looking at this result through the SST lens, this makes sense. If you have people of varying capability all working for the same person, you’re just asking for trouble. The result is a proxy for a deeper truth about people and groups but it works in a pinch.

Plus, as the article points out, expert programmers really hate these young twerps. And they sometimes have no desire to teach anyone their precious knowledge. Which reminds me of George C. Scott’s speech to Peter Sellers.

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