I've found that there usually is a moment in a programmers technical career where it just clicks. I find that what seems like productivity is almost always a direct result of a higher order of understanding.
An analogous situation is your average first year PhD candidate. Initially making some sort of contribution to the field feels overwhelming and almost impossible. But once you've spend a year or two reading papers and having coffee with the leaders in the field, everything comes together. That same PhD student starts to churn out quality papers every 6 months or so.
I think back to what it was like watching my dad program in Scheme when I was in high school. I got the same curious and overwhelming feeling then as I do now when working on certain areas of distributed systems. There's no reason to believe that the barriers that grownups face are any less insurmountable than the ones children do. :)
No waterfall process at Netscape, or anywhere near me since the '80s. I designed and coded at the same time. That, plus lack of sleep, show in some of the gaffes.
But arguably (Doug Crockford may have argued this) the whole process required JS to make more out of fewer, stronger primitives (first-class functions, prototypes). I know I didn't have time for much else, as I said at the ICFP 2005 keynote.
As I told Peter Seibel in "Coders at Work", besides lack of time, I couldn't add anything like (Pythonic, dynamic) classes. That would have encroached on Batman-Java; can't have JS-Robin-the-boy-hostage getting too big for the Netscape/Sun-1995-era-batcave.
That's really interesting. I think JS is better for those constraints. Seems like a classic disruption: something perceived to be a toy turns out to take over the universe. Some people may cling to the idea that Batman is the "serious" alternative... meanwhile Robin is installed on approximately every fucking computer in the world. It took 10 years to figure out how great the DNA that made it into JS was, but this is what makes web apps possible. We're extremely lucky to have it. Thank you!