December 17, 2017

...Learn TDD with Codemanship

Dev Teams As Assets

One of the biggest giveaways about how a lot of employers view software developers is the way they handle their high-performing teams.

I've seen it happen many, many times; a dev team does a great job delivering something of high value to the business, and at the end the business splits them up without a second thought.

A high-performing team, yesterday

In other lines of work, this would be considered very ill-judged. I struggle to imagine the execs at Apple Records saying "Thanks, John, Paul, George, Ringo. That first album album sold gangbusters. Time to split you up."

Some managers misguidedly do it in the hope of "spreading the love", moving developers from their most successful teams on to other teams that may be struggling, hoping some of the magic will rub off.

But development teams are holistic. They succeed or fail as a single unit. I've seen high-performing teams of mediocre developers, and I've seen teams made of 100% code ninja fail pitifully.

The "magic" we're seeking to replicate exists between team members.

Faced with a lack of control over who they get to work with, some teams take the bold step to move the whole kit and caboodle out of that organisation to retain the magic and apply it somewhere else, for some other client's benefit.

But most developers, with mortgages and school fees and wotnot to pay, can't justify the risks, so they accept their fate and go back to the seemingly much more popular choice of Not SucceedingTM for the remainder of their careers.

In these instances, you lose your high-performing dev team and gain a bunch of newly miserable and demotivated devs. High five!

A rare few organisations recognise the value of dev teams, see them as assets, and invest in them as whole units. They work to ensure the team retains cohesion, even after individual members leave, and as new members join. They know that the better way to spread the love is not to scatter high-performing team members to the winds, but to embed trainees in the team. What you want to rub off on them is likely to be find there, not carried by individual team members.

Posted 3 days, 8 hours ago on December 17, 2017