Here in California, we have the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), which employs the lowest intelligence people on the planet! I was just telling a colleague today that they must have a test to see if applicants are stupid, and they only hire them if they test stupid. Here's an example from some years ago: I lived on a street with a Spanish name, Avenida de las Flores, and I spelled it out over the phone for the brain-dead person from the DMV. I included "space" between the four words of the street name. The DMV clerk remarked that it was a very long name (should have been my first clue). When I received my letter from the DMV in the mail, it read "AvenidaSpaceDeSpaceLasSpaceFlores"! I kid you not! Silly me, I should have framed the envelope and kept it for the rest of my life!
On the other hand, here where I work we have people working in the cafeteria bussing trays and such who have very low intelligence. Some may even have Down's syndrome. But that's OK; the tasks they are assigned get done just fine because they don't require much intelligence. More power to them. I think there's just a disconnect between what the jobs require at the DMV (and other places, I'm sure) and the capabilities of the people hired to do them.
I've been lucky enough to work over the years with some very smart, very capable people who were also fun to work with. In many cases, our skills and interests complemented each other and together we could do far more than either one of us alone. Having a good partner to work with is often more productive than trying to do it all yourself, especially since you can catch each other's errors earlier and suggest alternative approaches before wasting time going down a path that turns out to be wrong.
However, it's hard to scale beyond two. Heck, it's hard even to schedule a meeting with more than two. With three or more, you have a committee and "the patient dies on the operating table while the doctors argue" as one of my teachers used to say.
I close with a wonderful quote from Charles Kettering, who said this upon hearing how wonderful it was that Charles Lindbergh had flown across the Atlantic all alone:
"It would have been still more wonderful if he had done it with a committee."
A Book For All Reasons Bernard Cole1 Comment Robert Oshana's recent book "Software Engineering for Embedded Systems (Newnes/Elsevier)," written and edited with Mark Kraeling, is a 'book for all reasons.' At almost 1,200 pages, it ...