#Issue138
2 posts

When debugging, your attitude matters

In this article, the Julia Evans battles with CSS and talks about our attitude as individuals when faced with a problem that we don't understand.
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When debugging, your attitude matters

In this article, the Julia Evans battles with CSS and talks about our attitude as individuals when faced with a problem that we don't understand.

  • When debugging a problem, throwing darts in the dark doesn't help. Furthermore, even if we managed to hit bulls-eye, we're no better for it. There's no greater understanding of the system that lives with us.
  • Reading the documentation (if available) or source code helps us understand the fundamentals of the system.
  • Find documentation that you can trust. As engineers, we've sold our souls to StackOverflow (which is a bargain, if you ask me). While StackOverflow is great for snippets of code, it's not a replacement for good documentation or tutorials.
  • Watching other people perform the same task helps us learn much faster. After all, we are all monkeys that imitate each other. This is also the reason that we have so many die-hard fans of pair-programming.

As a backend engineer, this article made me feel seen. For example, I do not enjoy centering my divs. Instead of trying to understand CSS and it's many tricks, I actually founded a company, Appsmith, to save others like me from this hell. That was my attitude to this problem. If you too hate centering your divs, do give us a spin at Appsmith. You might be pleasantly surprised.

Full post here, 7 mins read

A theorem of software engineering

Brook's law claims that adding people to a late project delays it further. This law is taken to be canon and is treated as fundamental by many engineering teams and managers.
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A theorem of software engineering

Brook's law claims that adding people to a late project delays it further. This law is taken to be canon and is treated as fundamental by many engineering teams and managers. While this is some-what true, it's a nuanced statement and shouldn't be called a "law". This article confronts and examines this "law".

  • Brook's law is only applicable to projects that are only delayed. It doesn't apply to projects that are in progress and/or early in their lifecycle.
  • As a team leader, if you can recruit more people on your team, you should consider this as yet another tool in your war against project timelines.* The Shortest Possible Schedule (SPS) theorem on the other hand provides a more realistic view into project management.
  • The SPS theorem states that adding people to a project can bring down the delivery timelines but only by 25%. You cannot go lower than that.
  • While weighing the cost of project timeline against cost, there is no pattern or consensus of what smaller teams can achieve in a larger timeline v/s larger teams in a compressed timeline.


As the old African proverb claims "If you want to go quickly, go alone. If you want to go far, go together". As high performing teams, some need to do each more often than the other.

Full post here, 7 mins read.