• Subject: RE: What are a programmer's rights to what he writes?
  • From: tstockwell@xxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Tue, 30 May 2000 09:09:56 -0700

>years ago, a woman's right activist spoke to dpma.  one of her themes
>was equal pay.  an example she had was a secretary should make the same
>salary as her boss, because the secretary works just as hard.

>one of the members, sitting across from me was very angry.  he made a
>comment i haven't forgotten, even though this was 20+ years ago.  he
>commented that it is wrong to expect rewards without taking

The key to management success, unfortunately, is to maintain ownership while
delegating responsibility.  IBM's managment style is renown for this technique,
and many other larger organizations use it quite successfully as well.  If a
project succeeds, despite the obstacles that the manager places in front of his
people, he gets the credit; if it fails, the underlings get the boot.  So this
management style requires that you keep as many bodies between you and the exit
door as possible, just in case things don't go too well.  Or, better yet,
sub-contract out as many responsibilities as you can so that the blame is
equally spread across all resoures.

Yeah, it's wrong to expect rewards without responsibility, but isn't it also
wrong to expect ownership in a creative act such as programming without risk?
How many times have you looked at a piece of code and said "Man! How'd he get
away with that?"  Or, the flip side: Look at Outlook email client and the virus
plague!  Microsoft owns Outlook, created an architecture with great security
risks embedded in the integration of the system, and takes no responsibility for
the outcome of an epidemic of security problems.  In that scenario, I'll bet you
the "secretary" who wanted equal pay with her boss would have fixed that problem
the first time the Melissa virus hit her boss's address book.  Goodness knows,
"she" would have been responsible for straightening it out.

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