Friday, 30 November 2012

Link: Why engineers are grumpy

There have been many great articles on how to deal with IT-folks. This is another of them: The care and feeding of software engineers (or, why engineers are grumpy)

It explains: what makes engineers tick, what makes them grumpy and why, and also solutions to make it all Just Work. It covers both the strengths and weaknesses of engineers, and how to build on the former, while avoiding the latter.

I'll leave you with a few quotes:

In almost every other industry where things are built, it is expected that all requirements and details are agreed upon and finalized before building commences. Except in software. In software there’s “not enough time” to gather all the requirements ahead of time. The importance of moving quickly is hammered into us from day one. And so engineers learn to fill in the gaps left by product managers just to keep the project going. Product managers, of course, also have the reputation for changing their minds frequently, which means engineers assumptions are often invalidated partway through the process. Is it any wonder that software engineers tend to burn out quickly and change jobs frequently?
True priorities aren’t transient, they are static. The frequency with which people above us change their minds is incredibly frustrating for software engineers. We frequently stand ready to march into battle and just want a direction to march in. But if you tell us one day that we’re building a house and the next day that we’re building a car, you should expect some dissension in the ranks.
There are few phrases that anger software engineers more than, “I used to code.” ... If I were to ask LeBron James how much time he needs to prepare for a game, I’m sure he’d be amused if I disagreed because I played basketball in high school. Software engineers get the equivalent all the time.
We software engineers are an interesting bunch. There’s a definite personality that comes along with us, and we really do want to make the best thing possible. If you stop treating us like short-order cooks and start treating us like part of the creative process, you are likely to get much farther, faster than you would otherwise. The teams on which I’ve worked have all had varying degrees of friction caused by not understanding the engineers’ mindset and what drives them. It’s my sincere hope that this article will lead to better communication between engineers and those that they work with. It’s really not that hard. We’re all just people who want to feel like a part of the solution rather than a worker bee.

No comments: