Programmers I admire and respect are getting discouraged and leaving the company for reasons I bet they can’t always completely articulate, and I haven’t been able to clearly articulate the nature of my discouragement either. So I’ve been trying to figure it out. In the movies it’s always easier to fight the invisible monster once you figure out a way to make it un-invisible. That is what I’m trying to do.
The perspectives in the articles below are drawn from my own experience, from talking with other top performers*, and from some of the reading I’ve been doing. I can’t imagine that I got everything in these articles right (remember I’m a developer who never studied this (wrinkles nose and shakes head) “people stuff” until recently!) — but on the other hand, I do think I’m on to something here. What do you think? I invite you to contribute to the conversation.
*At least, I aspire to be among these!
Update: In early March (2008), I met with our Vice President of R&D and had a really nice talk with him. He wanted to hear and understand my perspective — not only that, but when he shared about his own concerns and vision for our R&D division, I realized that he is actively working on this “people stuff”. As he said, it takes time for an organization to change. How encouraging, though, to know that at a high level in our organization someone is thinking about these things and working on them.
To some extent, having that conversation with our VP was just what these articles were preparation for, so to that extent their purpose has been accomplished. I’ll leave them out here for now, but I hope to move on to other topics now.
[Update January 9, 2013: Looking back, it's clear to me that as I explored these "people stuff" topics I lacked understanding of how a man should relate to those in authority over him and that this lack of understanding on my part worked against the help I was trying to be to my company in these things. I hope that I didn't disrespect or dishonor those over me by my words in the below posts; for God says,
Every person is to be in subjection to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God. Therefore whoever resists authority has opposed the ordinance of God; and they who have opposed will receive condemnation upon themselves...Render to all what is due them: tax to whom tax is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honor to whom honor.
Articles Dealing With “People Stuff”
Flexibility and Productivity
Flexibility and Hope
Issues With Our Current Setup
- Is There a Contradiction?
- Another Resignation
- Some Quotes From the Book
- How Would I Log That?
- The Seventh Category