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Re: What Actually Causes Deadlock

From: Bob Badour <>
Date: Fri, 15 Dec 2006 18:22:21 GMT
Message-ID: <xJBgh.33426$>

Marshall wrote:

> On Dec 15, 7:54 am, Bob Badour <> wrote:

>>I was once introduced to an individual who was purportedly the 'senior
>>technical guy' at a consulting practice. He had many years of
>>experience, and he was very fond of 'researching solutions', which meant
>>spending two weeks identifying API's I could locate myself in less than
>>5 minutes.
>>More than a year after the introduction, I taught him how to nest one
>>loop inside another.

> LOL. I know the type!
>>While one occasionally meets a competent, conscientious consultant,
>>99.99% are disgusting parasites, and I have watched more than one kill
>>the host. The consulting industry is rotten to the core with fraud and
>>malpractice, which are criminal; however, ending the crimes first
>>requires the political will to gather the evidence and to hold the
>>criminals accountable.

> While I have definitely met various individuals such as the ones you
> describe above (it's how I first heard of XML), I have met plenty
> of good ones. I don't find the competency ratio a lot different
> for contract programmers than for full time employees. OTOH
> I have heard repeated rumors that some of the larger firms
> are "rotten to the core" and even have some evidence to
> support that idea.

I should be clear: contract programmers are different from consultants. The only distinguishing characteristics of a contract programmer vs. an employee are the clauses of the employment contract. In fact, Microsoft's "permatemp" case established as a point of law that sometimes even those distinguishing characteristics do not apply.

Both contractors and employees demonstrate a range of skill from gross incompetence to jawdropping brilliance. Contractors provide a hedge for employers because it offers an opportunity to cut short the relationship with the incompetent. I have never seen an incompetent contractor outlast six months, and I have never seen an incompetent employee fail to outlast a year.

Some incompetent programmers last an entire career, and I even know of one case where an incompetent was given a major promotion and raise to keep him from leaving the organization. Group dynamics sometimes befuddle me. For example, why are there so few Reagans and so many Bushes, Clintons, Gores and Cheneys in the highest offices?

If you look at the top 1000 spectacular project failures in our industry, I am sure you will find a consultant in the mix almost every time.

> But *cough* I have done some contract work myself, and
> I recall at least one occasion when I came in to a company
> and discovered that the entire tech staff ranged from just
> adequate to abysmal. (It turned out they did have one
> really good guy but he was on vacation when I started.
> The funny part was that because of our organizational
> positions, we immediately distrusted each other, but
> within a few weeks we admitted to each other that we
> were the only sane and qualified ones present.) I recall
> teaching their programming staff that you could put a method
> in a superclass and then not have to type it in manually
> to each and every class.
> Marshal
Received on Fri Dec 15 2006 - 12:22:21 CST

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