Best management decision

In his book The Design of Design, Frederick Brooks describes his most productive decision as a manager at IBM.

My most productive single act as an IBM manager had nothing to do with product development. It was sending a promising engineer to go as a full-time IBM employee in mid-career to the University of Michigan to get a PhD. This action … had a payoff for IBM beyond my wildest dreams.

That engineer was E. F. Codd, father of relational databases.

Related post: Many hands make more work

4 thoughts on “Best management decision

  1. There are some great quotes in this book. Following one of your previous posts, I bought the book and I’m reading it.

    I’m amazed to find confirmation for everything I already believe. It is like Brooks and I have shared an identical experience… (And no, I never worked at IBM.)

    It could have been better edited though. At times, it feels a bit like reading a blog. But I guess the informal character of the book is part of its charm.

  2. “I’m amazed to find confirmation for everything I already believe. ”
    Google “confirmation bias” – you will find this to be true no matter what you read.

  3. Moor: I don’t think this is an example of confirmation bias because Brooks is not making a prediction. He’s not saying, for example, that if you invenst in people whose first names begin with “E” you’ll get a great return. He’s simply saying “I sent E. F. Codd off to get a PhD, and that worked out really well.”

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