[plt-scheme] you have a tough road ahead of you ; ; ; was Re: from hell to paradise

From: Grant Rettke (grettke at acm.org)
Date: Tue Feb 17 20:41:30 EST 2009

Last year at work I proposed that we conduct an experiment where some
senior developers and a bunch of junior-mid-level  developers work
through HtDP in order to find out what we could learn from it and how
the company could benefit.

My argument was that if we are going to flag people as "not up to
snuff" then we need a way to get them "up to snuff".  Typically, every
single company develops their own plan; and they all fail. Since I had
seen so many of these efforts crash and burn (including those of my
own design); I didn't want to try again. HtPD was one a pre-built
curriculum that looked like a good fit.

Our plan was to follow a curriculum of reading, homework, code
reviews, discussions, and by building relationships with everyone
since we don't work on the same projects together.  It was an all
volunteer effort and the only reward would be person enrichment and
perhaps stronger relationships with your peers.  In theory, our
culture is one of "programmer's programmers'; so this really should
not have been a stretch. There were 5 senior folks and 10
junior-mid-level folks.

Within one month; all of the junior-mid-level  folks and 2 of the
senior folks quit. One senior person quit due to health reasons and
that just left my friend and I.

I asked what we did wrong, how we could do it differently, and what
should be changed to make it work and what we found was that it would
be impossible to make it work for the following reasons:

1. It required effort on nights and weekends and it is not normal to
take effort on nights and weekends.
2. It added no visible value to their daily work.
3. It was not difficult enough (they were too smart).

Talking more to folks about this, I found that the going in position was:

1. If I don't learn it on the job; I won't learn it at all.
2. I want to learn about tasks like how to drop a control onto a form
or deploy an ear; but not how to think.
3. I don't have much more to learn; I am already awesome.

In my experience, at every place that I've worked, in every
conversation with my friends in the US; this seems to be the status

This is for whom you are marketing "designing programs" and FP: people
who don't want to put forth any effort, who don't want to learn how to
think, and don't see the possibility that there is anything left for
them to learn.

Is it hopeless? Should you give up? No way.

But what you should do is have a fair view of the playing field; and
this is what it is.

Posted on the users mailing list.