Herding Cats

Herding Cats: A Primer for Programmers Who Lead Programmers by Hank Rainwater

ISBN 1590590171

Nominated for a Jolt Award in 2003.

EDS did a great commercial during the SuperBowl? with a Western theme about HerdingCats. As a manager of programmers, the ad leaves me laughing every time I watch it. They followed it up next year with their "running of the squirrels" commercial, which is (almost) as funny.

-- MartinChernenkoff

Who came up with the phrase "herding cats"? Scott Adams, in one of his Dilbert books, observed that "managing engineers is like herding cats"... any earlier sources?

It of course pre-dates Dilbert; a source as early as 1985 is given here: TheHerdOfKittens. And I would guess it's older than that.

"At Group L, Stoffel oversees six first-rate programmers, a managerial challenge roughly comparable to herding cats."

-- The Washington Post Magazine, 9 June, 1985

I think I saw it in the Unix (BSD) fortune file around 1985 or 86.

A senior manager in Siemens I worked for in the late 90s described my job to me (managing a team of programmers) as 'Herding irate kittens while wearing oven gloves'.

Tip for herding cats: Mouse-flavored cat food.


See: HerdingCatsProblem, TheHerdOfKittens


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