I’ve run across some great blog posts lately, and decided I needed to share and keep track of them:
Cultivate Teams, Not Ideas at Coding Horror. I am totally with Jeff on this one, I learned this a while ago. I’ve taken my last two jobs based on the quality of people working there, not the work that they were doing. I love the quote:
In software development, execution is staying on top of all the tiny details that make up your app. If you’re not constantly obsessing over every aspect of your application, relentlessly polishing and improving every little part of it — no matter how trivial — you’re not executing. At least, not well.
I want to work with folks that feel this way about the work they do. Quality matters, and even more in my profession as a consultant. Quality work today gets me more work tomorrow, I can’t afford not to write top notch code and deliver quality solutions. Few things really upset me as much as shoddy work, whether out of ignorance or laziness. If you are a professional, there is no excuse for either one.
My co-worker David Giard (the host of Technology and Friends) wrote a very insightful post about being a programmer, It’s not easy, so don’t pretend it is. I agree with Dave 100% that we are undervaluing what value we provide with our skills. I pledge along with Dave to take the word “easy” out of my vocabulary when talking about the work I do. As someone who has to estimate work, I understand the complexity of what we do and struggle to communicate that to clients, and I think what Dave describes contributes significantly to that problem. End users/clients can’t easily see the complexity of what we do (“it’s just a form”), and can’t understand that adding “one extra feature” may actually triple the complexity of the solution, because our long-term message to them has been “it’s easy”. This actually relates to what Jeff said about teams as well. Good teams care about the quality of their work, so don’t minimize what you do to your clients or users, show them the quality of what you can do.
Lastly, I want to point out the terrific blog written by an ex-coworker of mine, Bob Kreha. While Bob does not write about technical topics per se, his observations about management really strike home as a person who is frequently managed (aren’t we all?). I particularly enjoy his insights into leadership, since I view myself as more a of a leader than manager, even though I technically may be a manager. His post BFF’s has a quote that strikes a particular chord with me, talking about a manager’s relationship with his subordinates:
So if you want nirvana, start with commitment, fairness, shared credit, transparency and vision. You might be surprised where you end up…
I can’t tell you how many times I struggle with my job because the management above me is not clear enough on where the collective “we” should be going. I frequently think “help me help you” when I am dealing with management. Everyone has an agenda, some folks more than others, but really I wouldn’t be working at a company if I didn’t think we were working toward the same goals. But with management it often seems like they are not on my side over some of the most petty issues. Really, due to a lack of transparency and shared vision, I think it’s petty when really it may not be, I just don’t understand the scope of the issue (or other pressures from management higher up) because no one is sharing. When it feels like maybe we are not on the same team, quite possibly someone is on the wrong team. The bottom line is, tell me where we need to go, I’ll help us get there. If you don’t tell me, I can’t help.
I’ve been pretty dark from blogging for a while, it’s good to get back into the swing of things. I’ll try to follow up with a more technical post soon.