Ten Reasons Why Your Programmer Might Kill You
You can do away with the bulletproof vest, it won’t save you. There are a few things that a programmer hates more than dividing by zero, and one of them is a manager that they perceive as being annoying and incompetent (we’re sure you’re not, but read on anyway!). As a non-programmer manager, the last thing you want to do is anger your programmers. They’re a very special kind of species; they don’t conform to the laws of society since they’re bound to the rules of programming, they enjoy jokes to the tune of “If at first you don’t succeed, name it Version 1.0” and they carry a comic book under their arm everywhere they go.
We caught up with a team of programmers and developers and asked them what about their managers irked them the most. They threw entire books that they’d written about the topic at me, so once I got out of the Emergency Room, I decided to put pen to paper (finger to keyboard – it’s 2013, gimme a break) and decided to put down some of the most common and interesting points.
1. “Just tell me exactly what you want, dammit. None of this creative crap.”
Not surprisingly, they all agreed that they love clear and concise instructions about what needs to be done. They enjoy building things exactly as specified, and feel that more in-depth the instructions for the functionality of the program at hand, the easier and faster it will be for them to build it.
2. “It would help if my manager understood the difference between an event and an action.”
Another unanimous cry of anguish came when I asked about communication. Apparently programmers and their managers tend to speak different languages, and it’s hard to make a point if the two can’t find a common platform.
3. “Given that I’m adding such value to your business, you might as well ask me every now and then for some input! I have some good ideas!”
Programmers do their own research. As hard as it may be to believe, between their marathon video game and comic book sessions and rattling out code in NetBeans and Eclipse, programmers find a lot of time to go through the latest programming techniques and pick up new concepts that they’re doing to share with their managers and use in projects.
4. “There’s no such thing as a simple modification. If you ask a builder to add a window to an already completed wall, he might use your head to knock out the bricks to make space for it.”
Ever said, “Could you just make a slight change?” Chances are, that the slight change will involve them working with 100 lines of code. Instead, think of it as a new feature and be prepared to wait longer than 2 minutes for it to be in place.
5. “I have a style of programming, and there’s no such thing as ‘churning out code’, alright? I craft my code, I’m an artist of instructions.”
Want to avoid facing the wrath of your programmers? Avoid treating them like robots, or expecting them to simply churn out lines of code. Just avoid the word “churn” completely. Each programmer has his own style of coding and takes pride in it.
6. “Maybe he should show his face during developer meetings to understand what we’re doing.”
With grumpy faces, they admitted that managers were very disconnected from what programmers were doing and going through, and therefore if they made an attempt to attend programmer meetings – a large gap would be bridged.
7. “You want the status report or you want the application finished? Make up your mind.”
Programmers don’t like giving status reports. Period. If you want to ask him something, do it verbally, don’t ask him to send e-mails. It drives them paranoid.
8. “So all that needs to be done is move this box here and that box there is it? Well why don’t you do it?”
Programming is a complex task, and every manager understands that. Don’t try to make their work sound trivial and don’t over-simplify it, understand that the more you appreciate their effort and level of work they’re putting in, the more they’ll give back to you!
9. “I never said that this needs to be done in four days, you did. There’s a difference.”
Given that programmers are analytical, it would make sense to trust their sense of judgment when it comes to timelines. When you’re looking at setting a timeline for a project don’t just set it, ask them to!
10. “The client is using software that was made before I was born. I don’t make you write with a feather pen do I?”
While at times this might be out of your hands, it makes sense to ensure that the clients you’re forcing the programmer to work with are using the latest tools and software – if not, it becomes a big problem to work with them.
For those of you taking this lightly, you should know that programmers do spend a fair amount of time playing Call of Duty, have excellent hand-eye co-ordination and the last thing you want to do is be at the end of their custom made and 3D-printed gun.
A few days ago, we had a fairly nerve-wracking incident when our Solutions Architect leapt across his table, screamed “KILL FUNCTION INVOKED” and threw a mousepad at the Business Developer. Since then, we’ve ensured that they’re both on the same page using these ten “principles”! The result? Our stunning showcase is a live example!
A social media and digital marketing enthusiast - Avtar helps social media managers and marketers get more out of their digital presence. He appreciates good EDM music and well made Sci-Fi movies, and is on a first name basis with Brad Pitt and Cristiano Ronaldo.
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