Can you write like Ernest Hemingway? Why not? He hardly used any big words. His sentences and paragraphs were short. His novel The Old Man and the Sea, published in 1951 and which I read nearly forty years ago, isn't even a hundred pages long. It was just about a old guy who went fishing. Why can't you write like Ernest Hemingway? How hard could it be?
Pretty damned hard, as it turns out. It's not about the act of writing words on a page. It's about knowing what words to write. Which is why Hemingway was awarded a Nobel Prize in Literature in 1954.
How hard can it be to write reliable, efficient, maintainable software? Take a look at the source code. It hardly has any big words. Each line isn't that long. A typical function takes up less than a screen. Some programs aren't even a hundred screens long. Why can't everyone write software? How hard could it be?
Pretty damned hard. It's not about the act of typing source code into an editor. It's about knowing what source code to type. And just like Hemingway, who was known for his spare, tight prose, knowing what source code not to type. A good software developer is no more a fungible commodity than a Nobel Prize winning author.
How hard can it be to manage? Take a look at a manager. He spends most of his time reading email, or sitting in meetings. Sometimes he wanders around and chats with people. He looks at spread sheets and documents. He goes to lunch. How hard could it be?
I think we both know where this is going.