Jan 222004

In a word: No.

Borland products are built by teams. Individuals come and go; it’s a fact of life. With proper management and preparation, the team can tolerate departures without disrupting product development.

We try to build redundancy into the team – not to make people expendable, but to allow people the flexibility to deal with higher priority events in their personal lives – marriages, births, deaths, and even career changes. We nurture mentor relationships within the team, so that when senior staff eventually move on (to other projects within the company or to other companies or to the hereafter) their experience in the craft is already imprinted on other members of the team.

Here’s a fact that a surprising number of people refuse to accept: Everyone leaves the team eventually. Whether by choice or by pine box, everyone goes. No one lives forever.

You can either build your world (and team) in denial of this principle, or you can build with awareness to accommodate such eventualities as best you can. When built correctly, the team is greater than the sum of its parts and will outlast the term of any individual within it. Borland has a long history of building such teams.

And before you ask: No, I don’t have any plans to leave Borland right now. I developed this view more than 5 years ago after realizing that Anders Hejlsberg’s departure from Borland was preceded by more than a year of careful (and quiet) team building with the sole purpose of weaning the team off of Anders. The results: the team was stronger, the individuals within it were more capable, and Anders was free to pursue his heart with a clear conscience. He would probably deny such a conspiracy theory, but I deeply respect him for it anyway.

While I will certainly miss Chuck’s energy and wisdom, I don’t feel Chuck’s departure will adversely affect future Delphi product development. The team will adapt, redistribute the load, and carry on. Chuck was instrumental in getting the Delphi for .NET project off the ground some two years ago, and instrumental in helping finalize the project in Q4 last year, but there was also a span of nearly a year in between where Chuck was completely consumed by the C#Builder project. Delphi 8 development did not come to a screeching halt then, and it won’t come crashing down now either.

It would be inappropriate for me to discuss the issues surrounding Chuck’s departure, but I will tell you that I understand his reasons and I support his decision completely. If I were in a similar situation, I would probably do the same.


Excerpts from my newsgroup reply posted to borland.public.delphi.non-technical on January 21, 2004.
Chinese translation by bear. Mirrored on CSDN.NET