Work in the Small, Think in the Big

Andy Hunt and Dave Thomas, authors of The Pragmatic Programmer, did an interview with Artima last year and somehow I missed it until this afternoon. Great stuff here, but the part I enjoyed most was right up front when they talk about craftsmanship and how easy it is to fall into a trap of "I work on this piece and only this piece" on large projects. They refer to a quarry worker's creed -- We who cut mere stones must always be envisioning cathedrals

The idea, of course, is that even those who work on small pieces of a much larger puzzle have to have the big picture in mind. Without that, the result is a finished project that lacks an overall, complete vision. Ok, so your part of the application is the database design, or the exception management, or the communications layer -- all are parts of a larger work that couldn't be built by any one person. Work on the stones but think of the cathedral. Take pride in your gargoyle. 

The interview is well worth a read.