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Difficult Developers? We understand you Mike… May 15, 2008

Posted by Darth Sidious in Managing Employees.
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We aggregate a lot of blogs internally in the Galactic Empire – mostly to stay on top of various planets and their rumbling. It takes awhile to get a Death Star in place, so when we detect uprisings about to occur – instead of a long drawn out battle, it’s just easier to blow it up…

We came across a posting by Mike Britton, who writes about what’s important in hiring a software programmer. Skills play a role, but as Mike points out – with the wrong attitude, it’s all for naught. There’s a class of uber geek that is so incredibly talented that what they are CAPABLE of is VERY attractive – but if it comes with an enormous amount of management, are you really getting your values worth?

If you have to spend 40% of your time as a manager keeping things politically stable, or the team stable… you have to factor in that the cost of this guy is his salary plus 40% of yours. The uber geek doesn’t think in business terms – they don’t relate that there has to be a net return on investment, otherwise you’re losing money… and eventually will run out of it.

There are those that only want to win as an individual, but those who realize that winning as a team yields greater rewards. From a management perspective, whether it be your top coder, or top sales guy… if he/she is de-motivating the rest of the team, the price is too high.

The Sith have found that it’s far more productive to have a group of people with the right attitude, and generally high skill – and totally not worth the egocentric uber geek.

Quotes:

  • “You can be the most prolific blogger and consultant in your field, but if you fail to come through, people will understand and remember” – Results, Results, Results!
  • “Approach life with the assumption you are without knowledge and you’ll be far wiser than someone who thinks they know everything”
  • “Approach your work with an open mind, and ask questions of people you may feel are subordinate.  They’ll appreciate the feeling that their experience matters, and you’ll be more likely to learn something.” – Collaborate!
  • “Avoid gossiping and backstabbing.”
  • “Understand that your goals are not always going to be in line with those of your company.  Your job as a developer is to write code that addresses a problem domain.” – You’re paid to to support corporate objectives, not yours.

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