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Peter Drucker's quotes for software developers

Tobias Nickel
German Software Engineer in Shanghai, blogging on what I think is HOT!! It has to be unique and relevant.
Originally published at Updated on ・4 min read

As expert for business, economy, management leadership and such, Peter Drucker also shared some interesting thought about the computer. And I believe, these quotes can serve you as a developer well.

With these quote, you might get the right words, that will help you next time, to make and win the argument about a new feature in your software giving great value to you and your organization.

You can be sure, your manager has read some of his books, or at least have read and heard about Peter Drucker's work.

First Quote

Beginning somewhat provocative:

The computer being a mechanical 
moron, can handle only quantifiable 
data. These it can handle with 
speed, accuracy, and precision. 
It will, therefore, grind out 
hitherto unobtainable quantified
information in large volume.
One can, however, by large 
quantify only what goes on 
inside an organization.
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Can you feel it? when the software does not do what it should? This quote is about quantifiable information. Stuff that can be counted and measured. But while we can also also count anything we find outside, we will never have the complete picture, because we can never count everything. And when investing the Effort, money and time to analyse the outside, at the time we get the result, it might just be irrelevant.

Second Quote

Going in a similar direction:

Relevant outside events are rarely 
available in quantifiable form, 
until much to late to do anything 
about them. This is not because 
out information-gathering capability
in respect to outside events lags 
behind the technical abilities 
of the computer. 

The problem is rather that the 
important and relevant outside 
events are often qualitative and 
not capable of quantification.
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Wow, relevant information is qualitative. Informations that we need to develop a sence for, where we need a good intuition. We need experience to make good decisions based on qualitative information.

Third Quote

Very quick, check the next quote

The danger is that executives will 
become contemptuous of information 
and stimulus that cannot be reduced 
to computer logic 
and computer language.
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Do you know that when getting lost in more and more information. When buying a new PC or other gedget, study lots of options, probably way to many, and actually getting distracted from what I actually wanted. While for personal, this can be very joyful, in business however there are usually bigger amounts of data and lots valuable resources at risk. We have to figure out what is the relevant information.

Fourth Quote

Is about your team.

One should only have on a team the 
knowledge and skills, that are
needed day in and day out for 
the bulk of the work.

Specialists that may be needed 
once in a while, or that have to be 
consulted on this or on that, should
always remain outside.

It is indefinitely cheaper to go
to them and consult them against
a fee than to have them 
in the group.
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This one is so huge, I see so many decisions made by inexperienced people, including me. We all always strive for the best solution. Sometimes we wish, there is someone with even more experience. This quote tells you, not to do everything on your own. Ask for help, and while it can cost, it will certainly pay off.

Fived Quote

Next is about attitude to your colleagues:

The man of knowledge has always
been expected to take
responsibility for being 

It is barbarian arrogance to assume
that the layman can or should make
the effort to understand him,
and that it is enough 
if the man of knowledge talks to 
a handful of fellow experts
who are his peers.
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And I said this counts for your direct communication with others as well as making sure your code can be understood by the next engineer. And that one is not necessarily on your team jet, he does not everything about your app jet and probably not even about your problem space and work domain. As, it is not necessary that your grandmother understand your code, a less experienced engineer should.

Sixed Quote

This is the quote, that made me start writing this article:

The greatest impact of the computer
lies in its limitations,
which will force us increasingly 
to make decisions, 
and above all,
forces middle managers to change 
from operators 
into executives and decision makers.
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This is so powerful. When managing people, it is enough to say "get it done"(probably more friendly and constructive) and later check how it goes. When developing an application however we have to define every little behavior for any possible circumstances. And that means, we have to make the decision upfront, hopefully before the user encounter that case.

I often have this quote in the back of my head, when asking my boss for the next nitpicking detail, that will be encountered by only 0.1% of users.


What are your thoughts? are these thoughts outdated? which one quote is new to you?

These quotes are from the book 'The Effective Executive`.

The title picture for this article is from coWoman.

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