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A book to greatly add to your perspectives about large complex systems failing: Inviting Disaster

quanticle · 2012-04-12 · Original thread
I think programmers generally care too much about correctness at the expense of feelings, community, and personal relationships.

Maybe. Or, maybe like other engineers we care more about having things that work than your hurt feelings. In Inviting Disaster [1], Chiles talks about how the most successful engineering cultures don't cover up mistakes. They expose them and correct them at the earliest possible instance. This does sometimes require people to have a thick skin. It's not comfortable to realize that you're wrong. But, frankly, I'd much rather be correct than comfortable.

Of course, this doesn't mean that you should personally attack the person who's wrong. But, from the article, that's exactly what happened. Ms. Selle doesn't say that Mr. Katz personally attacked the presenter. She just said that he questioned the presenter's methods and approach. I think that's entirely valid. I see it at scientific conferences all the time.

I do agree that interrupting the presenter was uncalled for. Mr. Katz should have reserved his questions until the presenter was done speaking. But I don't think he was incorrect in asking the questions that he did.


EDIT: accidentally forgot link

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