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Chapter 57. Mentored Out

Mentoring. In the post-modern melange of language that seeks to verbify every noun and leave no word of action without it's nominalization, “to mentor” is a very cool activity indeed. A mentor is, of course, a teacher. But more than just a teacher, a mentor is also a guide and master—part career counselor, part coach, part colleague. In some areas of software development, coaching has become almost as popular as mentoring, even though coaching is a real word and sounds far less sophisticated. Just listen in on the conversation among a group of consultants at a conference and you are likely to hear some announce that they no longer do consulting. Instead, they provide clients with a “mentoring and coaching process.” Indeed!

According to industry pundit Ed Yourdon, mentoring has become a hallmark of the Microsoft culture and the cornerstone of its approach to improving software. New hires are assigned a mentor who reviews every line of their code. And the “mentee” (but, of course!) reads every line of code the mentor writes. Here, we are told, is living evidence of a commitment to quality and improved processes at the great ranch at Redmond.


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