On Fri, 26 Oct 2001, Eric Lee Green wrote:
> On Thursday 25 October 2001 10:44, you wrote:
> > Eric Lee Green <eric / badtux.org> writes:
> > > Yeah, sometimes you must cope with people who are, uhm, less than
> > > stellar, in order to get a product out. You assign them to all the simple
> > > drudge tasks that even a moron should be able to do, and cross your
> > > fingers that they won't screw it up, because it can take 6 months to get
> > > a good replacement (as vs yet another less-than-stellar person) on board.
> >
> > And then you wonder why they aren't stellar...
>
> One thing I learned from teaching was never to do anything that I could get 
> someone else to do. There's otherwise no way for a teacher to do the 
> 10,000,000 tasks that s/he has been assigned, everything from teaching 
> arithmetic to teaching kids basic stuff like how to interact with each other 
> with words rather than fists (believe it or not, that's a big problem in many 
> schools -- kids come to school without any language skills, and whenever they 
> get frustrated they hit somebody). 
> 
> So I have no problem with anybody who has initiative and skills doing 
> anything on the task list (which, BTW, is publically posted and anybody can 
> choose any task off of it -- if they dare). But if you assign a difficult 
> task to a person and it turns out that you spend more of your time helping 
> this person do the task than it would have taken to do it yourself, the 
> conclusion as to what this person's NEXT task will be is clear: something 
> simpler. Sh*t needs to get done, and needs to be done in a timely manner, and 
> if he can't do it, he can't do it. 
> 
> This may make me sound like a jerk, but it's just business. We have product 
> to get out the door, and if a person is incapable of the initiative or lacks 
> the background to learn what he needs to know in order to accomplish complex 
> tasks without taking more of my time than it'd take for me to write the 
> routine from scratch in the first place, it's clear that this 
> less-than-stellar person is going to be assigned drudge tasks in the future, 
> because he just is not being productive in more complex tasks and is sapping 
> my productivity. If you manage to put together a team of superstars, great. 
> I've worked on a team where most of the guys were great software engineers, 
> and it was one of the best experiences of my life. Unfortunately, that's a 
> very rare thing to ever have happen.  
> 

Considering this message arrived thrice, I wonder if you should be
assigned simpler email tasks in the future.
:)

Your points are all perfectly valid, but your terms are wrong.
Let me summarize your calculations here:
If time of 'one time cost of training employee + employee writing code' is
greater than the time for Mr. Green to write the same code <i>once</i>,
than the employee is "less than stellar" and should be fired and replaced.
To put it another way, an employee is not up to par if he/she cannot,
without any training in the local technology choices, documentation, and
coding styles, accomplish a task *faster* than an engineer experienced in
the local variances.

This is not teamwork, this is subcontracting.  You are not building a
team, you are seeking a person with a perfect skill match to do something
specific and go away.  A well built team requires time and energy to bring
people to a union of minds, and has benefits above and beyond their line
count for a one-off application.

Subcontracting is a perfectly valid way to run a company, but you are
parading it as something else, so I called you on it.

And as I have no ending, I will make a little bow, and head to the pub.