Feeds

'Smart and gets things done'

Employ the best rather than merely the good

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup

Book review Smart and gets things done is a pretty apt description of the kind of people we want to recruit into our development teams.

Unfortunately, this is no easy matter. And, given the consequences of a wrong choice for either party, it can often be a pretty hit and miss affair.

Joel Spolsky, of VBA and Joel On Software fame, has put together this slim little volume that aims to let us all into the secret of recruiting the best of the best of the best. Oh, and along the way we get to learn a lot about Joel, his company, and what a great place it is to work in...

The key issue at play is that a great developer is streets ahead of a good developer in much the same way that a chess Grand Master is streets ahead of a Master.

It's not just Mr Spolsky who says this, it's a point backed up with solid research and a point that Steve McConnell makes in Code Complete. While others point to productivity gains, Joel also points out that great developers have other kinds of smarts too, and that this can pay off in ways unrelated to pure code quality.

Given the need to recruit the very few great developers out there, what is the best way of going about it? If these developers are that great, how is it that you can make them interested in the first place? How can you even get to them (placing ads online only nets thousands of CVs from not-great developers)?

Spolsky makes the point that the pool of talent is always limited, and that the really good people are never in the job market for very long. He also suggests, quite rightly in my opinion, that the best developers are never solely motivated by money (though they can become demotivated by lack of money just as easily as the next guy or gal). The trick is to pitch interesting work, good tools, good environments, and a set of high-performing peers. The aim should be to make your company an attractive place to work for people who are smart and get things done.

Assuming you've done what you can (and Spolsky does a very good job of pitching his company to readers, rest assured), how do you decide that the person in front of your really is a superstar and not just a convincing also-ran? There are some good recommendations on offer, and some sound advice on interviewing, testing, and how to treat prospective candidates once they arrive. And, to round things off, there are a few additional chapters on management styles and on how to fix sub-optimal teams.

All of which makes for an interesting and entertaining little read, for people on both sides of the interview table. For interviewers, it provides some food for thought on how best to screen unsuitable candidates and on how to attract the kind of people you need. For applicants it provides some ideas on how to gauge the organisation doing the recruitment.

Smart and Gets Things Done

Smart and gets things doneVerdict: Worth a quick read, particularly for those actively engaged in recruitment.

Author: Joel Spolsky

Publisher: Apress

ISBN: 1590598385

Media: Book

List Price: £12.99

Current Reg price: £9.22 inc. VAT (discount 29 per cent)

Buy this book at Register Books at Reg Developer's special discounted price (subject to change). ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
BBC: We're going to slip CODING into kids' TV
Pureed-carrot-in-ice cream C++ surprise
China: You, Microsoft. Office-Windows 'compatibility'. You have 20 days to explain
Told to cough up more details as antitrust probe goes deeper
Linux turns 23 and Linus Torvalds celebrates as only he can
No, not with swearing, but by controlling the release cycle
Scratched PC-dispatch patch patched, hatched in batch rematch
Windows security update fixed after triggering blue screens (and screams) of death
This is how I set about making a fortune with my own startup
Would you leave your well-paid job to chase your dream?
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Endpoint data privacy in the cloud is easier than you think
Innovations in encryption and storage resolve issues of data privacy and key requirements for companies to look for in a solution.
Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?