Knowing your ABCs

The mix of developers hired to work on a job is crucial. Jeff De Luca says it's important to have a few less accomplished programmers in the mix.

The mix of developers hired to work on a job is crucial. Jeff De Luca says it’s important to have a few less accomplished programmers in the mix.

“I’m looking for the As, Bs and Cs,” De Luca - a project manager and consultant with a Melbourne consulting practice, Nebulon - says.

“Can they learn and can they think? If they can, they’re a C class. I want a C to be able to become an A or a B.”

Anybody who doesn’t meet that basic criterion — the ability to learn and think — is somebody you don’t want on your dev team, De Luca says.

“But we definitely do want the mix. A project with just A class [developers] would be nightmarish.”

He’s critical of university graduates’ lack the appreciation of project management principles and development methodologies. Even when students are taught a methodology, their knowledge is usually theoretical and hasn’t been practically used in a project, he says.

De Luca cites the example of one graduate who had studied agile development but didn’t think it had any relevance to everyday development.

“We really need to try to fix it at the source,” he says. “We confuse goal-setting with learning.”

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