I look forward to Tuesdays, because on Tuesdays, the New York Times has a section called Science Times. Science Times is always interesting, and this last Tuesday was no exception. Amir Aczel wrote an article about celestial measurements which advocates changing from A.U., light-years, parsecs and megaparsecs to something he calls jet-years. At roughly 600 miles an hour, a jet travels 5 1/4 million miles a year, which is a jet-year. This is somehow easier to understand than a light-year.
In a similar vein, Ned Batchelder writes about lines of code per month
. This makes slightly less sense to me than a parsec (about 3.26 light-years). First, I haven't the foggiest clue how many lines of code I write per month. Second, I cannot begin to imagine why it would be a useful measurement. We need measurements that are relative to what matters, and that are easier to understand. Tell me how many gripes-per-week an employee voices, and I'll tell you whether that employee is destined for the front office or the front stoop. Tell me how many meeting-shortening-ideas-per-month, and I'll tell you whether this he/she has the right stuff. In direct programmer terms, tell me how many useless-code-cycles-per-week the programmer eliminated, how many non-obvious-comment-lines were generated, and how many previously-written-subroutines-reused-per-day the programmer has, and I'll know whether this person is who I want stranded on a desolate consulting gig with me.
What measurements would you like to know about a developer/programmer/consultant? Don't worry about how impossible they would be to measure. Think outside the box.
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