Thanks Watts!

"In life, we all reach the same end, so we need to concentrate on the trip. Devote yourself to excellence, and you just might achieve it. That would be worth the trip." — Watts Humphrey, in the conclusion of his book "A Discipline for Software Engineering"

Last Tuesday was Watt Humphrey's birthday. Watts was one my mentors. He had a very positive impact on my work and my life. I had the pleasure of knowing Watts for about 15 years.

The following are three of many important lessons I learned from Watts.

  • We should treat every project as a way to build talent rather than treating our talent as a way to build projects.
  • Constancy of purpose is one the most important keys to achieving our goals.
  • We should give people the opportunity to excel. They will often surprise us with how well they can do.

More importantly, I learned these lessons by watching him and having the pleasure of working with him. He truly consistently practiced all of these. Watts died six years ago. I miss him. I always remember him and his lessons, especially on his birthday.

If you have three minutes, here is a video I made for Watts as a gift for his 80th birthday. It is full of people that worked with and learned from Watts. And this is just a small sample. Happy Birthday Watts.

Yours in the calm pursuit of excellence,
ALAN WILLETT