in reply to What you refuse to see, is your worst trap

I agree wholeheartedly with this meditation, but wish to add a word of caution. I generally relish peer review and comments about coding, algorithms etc. However, in a recent project an "expert" from outside the team was called in. He looked over the project and said, "use this structure instead". When I objected that his structure had faults a, b and c, he said, "think of egoless programming". His point was that clearly I could not see the faults in my own design. In fact, he spoke out of his lack of understanding -- his design was mildly easier to implement, but provided significantly reduced functionality. Occasionally, disagreement may be based in reality and not just ego protection.

We have to be cautious of this and seek not just one but a broad range of opinions. This is true not only when others disagree with us, but when they agree as well... We also have to be open to suggestions of alternatives.


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Re: Re: What you refuse to see, is your worst trap
by chunlou (Curate) on Jun 30, 2003 at 20:42 UTC
    That's "expert" is your "inferior," not your "peer."

    It happens often that a manager trying to seek outside opinion ends up with some phoney consultant.

    This could happen due to (but not limited to):
    • bad luck
    • "someone else's are better" mentality
    • just wanting to hear what one wants to hear
    • the "expert" being a friend of someone
    Once there's this consultant whose solution to every architectural problem is ASP and OOP. He even said OOP could be applied to SQL. (While I believe OO Design could be applied more generally, twisting OOP into not OOP language is just plain weird.)

    And his answer to why he hadn't propose any new architecture to our system was that we hadn't written up extensive enough our business rules.

    Another technical consultant was invited to tell us why the new MSSQL (it was 7 or 2000 or something?) was better (than whatever). It turned out to be a hour long sales pitch. One of his argument why the new MSSQL was good was MS spent billions on it. (If money guaranteed success, life would be a lot more plainer.)
Re: What you refuse to see, is your worst trap
by mildside (Friar) on Jul 02, 2003 at 06:33 UTC
    This meditation tends to valid my philosophy of "Never profess to be an expert on anything", because chances are I'm probably not.

    It also provides an interesting perspective on what I have observed about myself since I started working as a programmer (previously I was an engineer) a few months ago, namely that my programming methods and skills have been lacking in many areas, but are improving. Now I wonder how many other bad practices I have that I am blissfully unaware of.

    I suppose as long as I continue to look back at my previously written code in disgust/dismay etc, then I at least have some chance of continuing to improve. Of course, peer reviews are also a good idea, although I donít know if my fragile ego will cope. :)

      Peer review. I agree it's rough. I don't want you guys looking at my work. It's embrassing. But how else to do it? Tough love but respect. Be nice to each toher. Work together. I'm in NJ: P.O. Box 438 Convent Station, NJ 07961, Claire Coombs. Mail Fraud: that's why I got the box. Tap my phone, too. It's dangerous out there. We need to stick together.