Wednesday, October 12, 2005

More Team Problems Identified

I was talking with a co-worker this morning and we hit on some of the many problems with my team.
  • Non-Technical Dev Manager - This causes unnecessary strain on our technical resources because we have to stop and explain things to him. I don't think a "manager" is a generic person that can be grafted on top of any problem and just begin making things happen. I believe you should actually understand what it is that you're managing in order to do an effective job.
  • Over-Insulation of Developers - On my team, it is again the role of the tech lead to interact with other teams and go to all generic meetings. The idea is that by isolating this overhead on one person, everyone else's velocity immediately goes up. The problem is, you've identified your most capable technical person and decided to piss away his expertise in meetings rather than building software (you know--the way you make your money). Couple that with the fact that programmers usually want to write code (not attend meetings) and you have an unhappy developer on your hands. In one fell swoop you've made your most capable person a non-contributing flight risk. Another interesting side effect of this is that, if the information isn't disseminated (which it isn't) everyone else on the team feels like they're out of the loop. Everyone burns their velocity trying to figure out what the fuck is going on. You get nice things like, "Don't you remember, we talked about that in that meeting with--oh, that's right. You weren't in that meeting."
  • Too Much Dead Wood - I've already mentioned the problem with incompetent people. I'll use this opportunity to add something that another manager told me. "The problem with dead wood is not just that it is dead. It's that whatever killed it can spread and kill off the healthy wood." I assume he was still talking about programmers, but you never know. Anyhow, those turdlet developers on your team suck the time and the life out of your good developers. Now, other teams are apparently being more successful at either eliminating their duds or bringing them up to speed. I'm not sure where the failing is on my team. Perhaps it's the fact that we have a 1:1 ratio of good to bad developer. Maybe it's me. Who could say.
Well, that's enough of a rant for now. One last point, the real knee slapper in all of this, is that upper management views my team as very successful. But, it's populated with the unhappiest developers churning out the crappiest code. The other teams apparently are beginning to feel like the process is working. Luckily, upper management has suggested my manager have a talk with the other guys and get them to be more like us.


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