Book Six

Thus spake the master programmer:
"Let the programmer be many and the managers few -- then all will be productive."


When managers hold endless meetings, the programmers write games. When accountants talk of quarterly profits, the development budget is about to be cut. When senior scientists talk blue sky, the clouds are about to roll in.

Truly, this is not the Tao of Programming.

When managers make commitments, game programs are ignored. When accountants make long-range plans, harmony and order are about to be restored. When senior scientists address the problems at hand, the problems will soon be solved.

Truly, this is the Tao of Programming.


Why are programmers non-productive? Because their time is wasted in meetings.

Why are programmers rebellious? Because the management interferes to much.

Why are the programmers resigning one by one? Because they are burnt out.

Having worked for poor management, they no longer value their jobs.


A manager was about to be fired, but a programmer who worked for him invented a new program that became popular and sold well. As a result, the manager retained his job.

The manager tries to give the programmer a bonus, but the programmer refused it, saying, "I wrote the program because I thought it was an interesting concept, and thus I expect no reward."

The manager upon hearing this remarked, "This programmer, though he holds a position of small esteem, understands well the proper duty of an employee. Lets promote him to the exalted position of management consultant!"

But when told this, the programmer once more refused, saying, "I exist so that I can program. If I were promoted, I would do nothing but waste everyone's time. Can I go now? I have a program that I'm working on."


A manager went to his programmers and told them: "As regards to your work hours: you are going to have to come in at nine in the morning and leave at five in the afternoon." At this, all of them became angry and several resigned on the spot."

So the manager said: "All right, in that case you may set your own working hours, as long as you finish your projects on schedule." The programmers, now satisfied, began to come in at noon and work to the wee hours of the morning.