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Managing the Unmanageable: Rules, Tools, and Insights for Managing Software People and Teams by Mickey W. Mantle, Ron Lichty

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3. Finding and Hiring Great Programmers

There are many programmers. However, there are not that many great programmers.

“Exceptional engineers are more likely than non-exceptional engineers to maintain a ‘big picture,’ have a bias for action, be driven by a sense of mission, exhibit and articulate strong convictions, play a pro-active role with management, and help other engineers,” said an insightful 1993 study of software engineers.1

Frederick Brooks in his classic work The Mythical Man-Month2 cited a study3 from 25 years earlier that showed, among programmers with two years’ experience and similar training, that the best professional programmers are ten times as productive as the poorest of them. The researchers had started out to determine ...

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