How many software developers does it take to screw in a lightbulb?

Ben Halpern on May 30, 2019

That’s the setup. What’s the punchline?

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1 developer and a 3.4 Gb node_modules folder.


I feel personally attacked


Why? Do you nedd only 2.1GB?


It's not the size it's how you use I.T that counts.


ahhahha genius 🥳🤣


None. That's a hardware problem. ((Old punchline to this joke. Haha.))


I also like:

None. The light bulb works fine on the system in my office.


both of these are hilarious


We can't know how many resources we need until we:

  1. Write a User Story and add it to the backlog
  2. Resolve dependencies amongst other teams who are providing us with the lightbulb and the socket
  3. Estimate the Story using the Fibonacci point system
  4. Determine capacity for our team members in the upcoming sprint
  5. Pull the story into next sprint and assign specific tasks
  1. Get a developer to go get the lightbulb
  2. It's blue, the customer wanted white.
  3. Take the blue light back to get white.
  4. The white light now is too white, customer wants soft white.
  5. Developer screws in the light bulb.
  6. QA tests the light bulb, it doesn't turn on. QA unscrews the lightbulb, places it in a bag, hands it back to the developer and says it's "defective".
  7. Developer tests the lightbulb in their own office and it works. After all, it was a new lightbulb and it worked in their office before.
  8. Developer screws in lightbulb again, it doesn't turn on.
  9. Developer realizes that a previous developer turned off the light switch and cut all of the wires.
  10. Developer quietly weeps in the corner, questioning their life decisions. ...
  11. A new developer walks in and duck-tapes a new socket, wires it up with paperclips and rigs a switch. Light is dimly lit, held together by duck tape and faith, but now no one has anymore bandwidth to fix the original light and everyone moves on.

The End.

  1. New people buy the bulb for pennies on the dollar.
  2. It gets new team, branding, artwork, photos & interns. Own IG.
  3. Go to trade shows & meetings, events with Bulb 2.0.
  4. Massive growth, rounds, ICO, top 10 on Coinmarketcap. Internet of Bulbs.
  5. 1.0 devs are now working at "Flaming Scooters" really hard to pay basic extortionate-bills & look up from emoji Touch Bar realizing they missed the 1000x but maybe 20% is left.
  6. They invest all savings from Bulb 1.0 into Bulbcoin hodl only to see it fall, knife, deadcat bounce & get delisted. 2.0 team had already cashed out & were working on Doorcoin at the time which saw an unexpected climb as Bulbcoin could be an interesting asset for diversification of their oversized fund.

Me neither. Hope it's ok. 🤣

I was making a joke about the joke. Lol so jokes on you, I suppose.

That tends to happen from time to time. 😅 It's hard making a buck as a dev standup these days. I was attempting, poorly.

Your name proves you have the upper hand this time, Mr Witt.


This is painfully true.


That sounds more like: How many product owners...

npm install punchline

You could have done npm install -g punchline and make the whole world laugh at once


You could have done it in CSS Alvaro while eating Italian tapas.

Was referencing/joking about the paella food tweet & your daily CSS experiments in one. Supposed to be abstract humor but it was a terrible attempt. Sorry. 😳


I can guarantee that's a thing without looking it up.


I couldn't help it, I looked it up, it's not a thing. I will give it 5 mins and I'm sure somebody will have take it.

This needs to be a thing. CLI of random "dad jokes" maybe??

EDIT: Made it a thing - npmjs.com/package/@vip3rousmango/p...

It's not a CLI, but this has dad jokes galore!

Punchline is a dad joke AI trained from said cli?

  • can rate your joke
  • makes jokes from titles of projects in npm
  • comes with a webpack loader
  • integrates with all major Frontend frameworks
  • Has literally 100's of critical issues, but it's on the backlog 😅

I think we have a product here?

Dear god, Jeremy. I'm ... speachless.



0.1.1 • Public • Published 4 years ago

It's a thing.

Curse my inability to use a keyboard. I wonder what it does.


Not surprisingly; punchline is an actual package: npmjs.com/package/punchline


What dev has time to screw in their own lightbulbs? Just use AWS CloudBulb--abstracts away all the details and they've got a free tier!


Too bad their pricing model is nearly impossible to comprehend. You can't just buy the lightbulb, you have to individually purchase the glass and choose its shape, thickness, opacity. Then you need to pick your filament (from among 17 different shape variations, each in a number of different lengths), decide what kind of screw cap you need (I didn't even know there was more than one option!), and estimate the cost-per-minute given the expected wattage load and service up-time.

But once you've got all that figured out, you'll never need to worry about lightbulbs again! At least until the requirements change...


It's changed since you posted this.

Bulbs, sockets & houses are now a sealed single unit & not user serviceable. To change your bulb please upgrade to our latest house range.

We have houses in succulent pink, lavish lavender, boundless blue & chartreuse. Two sizes.

3 months of free smart door (then $9.99.99 pm). bOS compatible only.

Windows not included.

If you do opt for the optional Windows you will also receive a load of bloatware and occasionally and unexpectedly the house will somehow crash.


~stab~ right at the hear there Tom. :D


Don't you dare make this my next most popular comment.

Sometimes I actually post info. 😳


One to actually screw the lightbulb and 30 to say that they could've done it better.


Hahaha reminds me of this from Toggle that talks about it. Toggle Light Bulb


Throwing more devs at it won't solve it faster.


Ah, the mythical man-bulb


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Oh, I just wrote a change_lighbulb.sh script to do it for me...


Ticket Closed: wont-fix
Reason: This is a feature, not a bug. I like to work in the dark


Two. One to do it incorrectly and another to shove them out of the way with !important and put it in, before people realize three weeks later it's the wrong lightbulb and it's too late to fix it.


I don't know but you gotta make a JIRA ticket for it first


🤣 I laughed so hard at this because it reminded of one of my old company where this got out of hand. We replied with "Please send me the JIRA ticket" so often, our colleagues would wonder if they needed to file one to ask us to go for lunch. I could totally see this happening there if someone needed a lightbulb fixed.


Depends on the bulb:

Enterprise bulbs: need 5 developers with 15+ years of experience screwing bulbs.

Startup bulbs: need one developer on 5 redbulls to overengineer the bulb fitting so that it accepts any bulb!


1 C dev or
1 C++ dev and 1 tester or
2 Ruby TDD devs and 1 DevOps guy or
3 frontend Js devs and 2 backend devs or
10 enterprise Java devs and a department of architects


If it is an enterprise lightbulb 2 teams of 5 developers working for six months. The requirements didn't specify what color the light was supposed to be so it wasted a few iterations. Also all the unit tests passed each deploy but no one wrote any integration tests to verify if it could ever be unscrewed.

If it is a marketing lightbulb couple hours but if there is any bugs it will require replacing the bulb and enclosure totally.


One. If turning it off and on again doesn't work then it's the manufacturers problem and someone else should call them to have it looked at.


Segmentation fault


. lightbulb {transform:rotate(45deg)}


1)Product manager - To decide do we need to screw or not
2) project managing people - To select the best among the only one option available :P
3) Architect - To design how to screw
4) Manager - To monitor to you and report status back to others
5) Engineer - To actually screw
6) TestEngineer - To test it
7) Finance guy - to pay you
8) HR Guy - To manager all of the above
9) CTO - To manager across all products
10) CEO - to monitor all of you and to gain some insights

PS: Didn't add hierarchy in each level. If added it will reach 24.


Yeah, but Michael & I already paid off key industry influencers & speakers to rep for us.

Also, we have already been working on bulb.py a python bulb scraper which is an enterprise product & where the real money is.


At least 2, but you're going to need a really large lightbulb.


1 architect to justify their job by making it overly complicated.
2 senior developers to argue how to make the light bulb immutable
1 junior developer to paint the light bulb to look like it's on so the customer can see progress


:startOne, but at the first try, it will only light up half as bright. Then he'll re do it in a week's time and it will be bright but take two clicks to turn on. Finally another week later he'll manage to do it properly but by this point they will have already ordered fancier lights and he'll have to get started on them.goto:start


so it will be ready in less than a week? We have a client meeting


Has no one mentioned pyjokes?

It has the title joke with the already mentioned punchline plus tons of other good ones (shortcut to actual jokes below)



What is the use case? Team X already solved it, why are we re-inventing it?


None its the new Dark standard


one => sudo rm -rf /light-bulbs


"This XML file does not appear to have any style information associated with it. The document tree is shown below."


Yep. Working perfectly. 😁


Really? You went for an electric wire and a tungsten filament? Jeez, who did this, it's rubbish!

I'm going throw in a POC using google's wif to protobulb with lightstorm capacity. It can provide light for a city, but we can use it on 1 until we need more light.

I'll quickly change the existing bulb and leave it running just in case, but we should be able to kill it within a week.


Oh, a bulb off.



Back in the nineties it used to take a whole team to do this but now that we know what we're doing I can do it in a weekend no problem. I try to stay humble though, disruption can be hard for non-tech people.


None - its a hardware problem



1 to actually screw it in, and 4 to argue about what kind of hammer to do it with.


If it's an entreprise lightbulb, I'm gonna hire 10 developers who have a whole elaborate process for screwing in a lightbulb. It'll be done in ~6 months!


None. This is a hardware problem. :)


The more developers, the longer it will take.


Zero. The documentation was so poor, no developer was willing to fix the problem.


The number of developers you can feed with 2 Pizzas.


Html is how to GET a head in programming. Bdum cha


None. That's a hardware problem.


One. Starts to automate the process. Screws in all the lightbulbs in the world.


Meh, new BulbScript frameworks come out every day


None, we all use Dark Mode


Did the developer of the previous lightbulb leave any documentation? Are we sure it's even wired up?


None, it is a hardware problem


I feel like this could go wrong a million ways. Can we scope this out a little more?


Scrum master says no more than 9


all of them
otherwise their "compiling"


I don't know the answer, but I can give you an approximation in t-shirt sizes or Story Points. Does that help?


If you take German developers, it's one and no punchline, because we're efficient and have no sense of humor whatsoever ;-)


One but only if there is an entry on stackoverflow


None, Product owners will kill the project before the developers get started.


the client wants a blue lightbulb that emits green light

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