Saturday, January 24, 2009

The 10,000 Hour Rule

Last week Joe McKendrick referred to Malcolm Gladwell’s 10,000 Hour Rule.

An interesting point Gladwell makes is that all people successful in their respective fields all have one thing — just one thing — in common: they have spent at least 10,000 hours learning and internalizing and perfecting their crafts.
We all recognize this with writers, musicians and artists as they are visible us. But it also applies to all kinds of other craftsmanships.

Joe McKendrick brings this observation into the SOA realm. He says it lasts about five years of 40 hour/weeks to reach 10,000 hours. And as SOA - in his opinion - started about five yours ago, as of now experts are coming to the scene.

Is that right? Did SOA "start" five years ago? Not at all! Yes, standards to support SOA and needed to succeed with it started to emerge about five years ago. But the SOA-mindset exists already as long as people design systems (not necessarily IT-systems). Read the evidence here and here.

Let me go back in the time. I started in 1977 as a programmer. Since my first tiny little program I had in mind: modularity, binding versus coupling, generic (= shareable, reusable, stateless, autonomous) functions, business agility focus... It was a kind of natural thinking to me as a programmer.

Now, in 2009, I am an enterprise IT-architect and my implicit design principles with regard to defining hierarchies of component breakdowns and organizing them into effective and efficient constructions are - by instinct - still the same. I am happy to recognize many of these natural principles are addressed in the contemporary design approach called SOA.

32 years of 1500 working-hours a year makes 48,000 hours of SOA experience... And I guess I am not unique.


Damir said...

Dear Jack,

SOA did not exists 32 year ago;
nor did PC,MAC etc. What did you have at the time - 1977? Commodore PET would be top of the line :).

Jack van Hoof said...

32 years ago I had software constructions that had to support business processes and that needed to be flexible and agile as even 32 years ago business processing changed frequently, more frequently then we could follow in rebuilding our software systems over and over again. And our software systems needed to be able to consume the merging of companies with ours at that time and to communicate with sister departments all over the world (I worked for IBM at that time, and also for global bank institution).

I worked with IBM 370 mainframe, and I played games on a Commodore 64 (a few years later).

And more: Myers, Constantine, Yourdon and others taught us in the 70-s and early 80-s about the principles of structured design, coupling, binding and the system theory, which most of us today never heard of or are forgotten, but which are the universal truths and physics of systems design. You bet SOA lived 32 years ago. Not as an acronym, but as a professional mindset.

And you, Damir, what did you do 32 years ago?


Damir said...

I programmed TI-59, night & day; punched cards for IBM360 (high school thing to do), started flying classes. Did not get my hands on ZX81 till '81.

Joe McKendrick said...

Great observations, Jack, and thanks for the link. You are certainly correct that the bedrock principles behind SOA took root many years ago, evolving through OO, client/server computing, CORBA, DCOM, etc. And we certainly have "outliers" in the IT field that have been guiding this evolution from the beginning. Gladwell made the observation that many of the inspired individuals he studied also ended up where they were as a result of accident of birth -- born at the right time to take advantage of new developments. Now we have professionals that came on the scene in the early 2000s that only know concepts such as Web services, loose coupling, and platform-independent computing -- and they have put in their hours!

home for sale costa rica said...

Hi, thats exactly what I was searching in this time...

I'm really interested in this post...I want to know more about "The 10,000 Hour Rule".


Chris said...

I totally agree with your post. I didn`t even hear about the 10.000 hour rule but I think it`s quite accurate.

It takes at least about 5 years to become a professional in almost every industry.