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7 Things Developers Can Learn From Jason Bourne

Filed Under Human Factors

Jason Bourne

After watching the final installment of the Bourne series, I noticed some attributes that Jason Bourne displayed. He is fast, he is strong, and if he was a software developer here are the rules he would live by:

1. Always be ultra aware

First, developers often are not aware of office politics. They crawl into their cubes at sunrise only to emerge at sunset. Some of it is not your business, but if you pay close enough attention you can reveal a lot of your inter-office politics. Watch who talks to who, who goes into the boss’s office, and who is goofing off. A lot of closed door meetings can be revealed even if you can not physically hear the conversation.

Second, developers must have the awareness (and honesty) to understand how your project is going. Does it need more direction? Testing? What are my KPIs to gauge success? Having no visibility into the health of a project means you can get caught napping.

2. Always ruthlessly execute

Never half-ass an effort and never show mercy when attacking a problem. Choose your execution plan and then execute it as planned. Jason Bourne never pulls a punch and neither should you.

3. Be resourceful

In a pinch? Sometimes a roll of duct tape is the only answer, and being resourceful with what tools you have can help you overcome problems when failure is not an option.

4. Always make calculated decisions

I am not advocated BUFD, but more importantly – always have a reason for doing something. Uneeded library upgrades, worthless tests, or just the absence of any planning what-so-ever; always be calculated in your actions.

Constantly question – Does this action help me accomplish my mission objectives?

5. React quickly (do not stop, inaction is death)

Rehashing problems but never coming to conclusions can stop a project dead in it’s tracks. It is important to sometimes bite the bullet take the path of least resistance. At least you will have made a decision, and if it turns out to be the wrong one, at least you learned something.

6. Stay strong

Never allow yourself to get weak. Stay sharp by reading books and blogs, or participate in user groups. Staying on top of your game at all times can give you more tools to be resourceful when confronting problems.

Oh…and some actual physical exercise never hurt either…

7. Learn to work alone

You will not always be in situations where you will have a team at your disposal. Being self sufficient will help you be a stronger developer.

In the end, sometimes the only person you can trust is yourself – especially if you are currently working on a government contract named “Treadstone”.

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8 Responses to “7 Things Developers Can Learn From Jason Bourne”

  1. Steve Ernst on December 3rd, 2007 8:25 am

    The only additional bullet I would add is: be willing to revise plan as new information presents itself.

    Many times, orgs formulate an initial plan and execute blindly against it. Agile methods address this of course.

  2. Chris Garty's Weblog on December 3rd, 2007 7:10 pm

    Behavior Driven Development

    At the last Fargo Moorhead Developers meeting we had a great presentation from Max Pool about Behavior

  3. Eric on December 5th, 2007 4:30 pm

    Hey! Aren’t you describing a Superhero and aren’t all the solo developers supposed to be dead? 😉

  4. Max Pool on December 6th, 2007 7:41 am

    @Eric – Looks like someone is trying to stir the pot again 😉

  5. Jeremy N on December 7th, 2007 8:45 am


    I think that your number 1 point (always be ultra aware) seems to continually come up as an area that developers continually fall short. If some of the developers would lift their heads out of the monitors or above the cubes once and a while maybe we wouldn’t hit the “gap” between software devs and end users as much as we do.

    Bottom Line: The Bourne series rocks!

  6. ActiveEngine Sensei on January 1st, 2008 11:20 am

    Awareness of where the project is headed and what the client needs is the key to winning the game. Many clients get turned off by the developers who are so wrapped in the ethereal elegance of solutions.

  7. ActiveEngine Sensei on January 1st, 2008 11:30 am

    Sorry – hit the button too soon! Bourne rocks!

  8. Angel Java Lopez’s Blog » Blog Archive » Learning from Jason Bourne on October 28th, 2008 6:13 am

    […] 7 Things Developers Dog Learn From Jason Bourne […]

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