So, who are they really? The software developers I mean. Often the current stereotypes and clichés paint us a picture of a reserved and silent man wearing eye-glasses staring hard at the monitor with fingers typing fast. In the new rising computer era the software developers pool was built upon a bunch of enthusiasts and nerds, today being a programmer is one the most distinguished professions many youngsters aspire to obtain.
Each year opportunities created by IT are getting wider. Along with that there comes another problem. Fast technology development brings about wider gap between software developers and management. So, we‘ve got a problem. Should a director busy with everyday duties dive into learning to code? Definitely NO! In order to bring a sense into that disparity the manager should be aware of the core problems and possible solutions.
The virtual construction site
I suggest thinking of a construction site. A very regular one accommodating all the raw materials, like brick and cement, full of noise from foremen and labor workers guided by the approved plan. We need to draw several parallels between the construction worker and a programmer in order to dot our i’s and cross our t’s. Tons of brick in skillful hands will eventually transform into beautiful houses. The professionalism of workers matters if we want to achieve good quality while the architect cares about functionality and the aesthetic side.
Software developers in this regard can be defined as constructors although they’ve got to operate with different materials – figures and symbols in order to create code that builds a final product.
As a matter of fact, website creation is just like constructing a virtual multi-apartment house. The registered users are your tenants, and the “living conditions” are designed by programmers.
Look out! The failures will be chasing after you everywhere. Moreover, the risk of misfortune is getting higher as the project scale increases. Hasty climbers have sudden falls, as the old proverb says. Yet, to me the falls are not so scary. The most important thing is to stand up, recover, and pursue your goals again and again.
The truth is that many managers can’t make correct assessments of the workload assigned to a software developer. May be there’s no actual need to hire a person to be a permanent member on staff and instead hire a freelancer? Let’s say, you’ve got some irregular or occasional stuff to do. Well, may be that makes sense to hire a web design studio team that will be a good match to handle all of your requirements. Finally, you may do it by YOURSELF! But in this case you will have to work pretty hard. Well, nothing is impossible to a willing heart.
When we have to deal with extensive projects requiring major development, the issue of hiring the right staff comes first. If you hire only one candidate for the whole project you might set yourself up of disaster. You‘re taking a risk that he won’t be able to do his job as you see fit. Ultimately, our whole construction process will get delayed. Time is always money, and often a lot of money. Unfortunately, a lot of budget-conscious employers hire only one specialist, which over time may cause problems eventually leading to lost revenues. The better option would be to involve at least two specialists and thus provide some kind of risk mitigation in case one of employees doesn’t work out.
The Problem of Choice
If your work is guided by modern technologies, you may rely on them and have no fear. Your house will last for dozens of years and maintain its look. The high quality construction materials and newest architectural technologies enable you to create buildings of exquisite looks and indisputable functionality.
The same goes for virtual construction. One more subtle danger would be favoring the wrong technology. Judging by my own experience, the free CMS (“Control Management Systems”) are not that efficient in solving all kinds of problems. As a result you end up wasting large amounts of your time solving continuously evolving problems.
Paid CMS options provide more flexibility. On the top of that they include client support and software maintenance. Despite that, they offer similar designs and are not great at fitting client’s individual tastes either.
Although developers and construction engineers represent quite distinct domains, similar problems arise for both. Should a contractor misstep, the whole team’s result will fizzle. Therefore we need to control the discipline in order to enjoy the beauty and grandness of the whole idea.
When it comes to strict discipline, software developers are not easy to reach it. This owes much to their creative nature. Just a handful of them would get up early in the morning full of energy, and head to work many miles away in order to write code, just like any other worker would do. “No way! By no means I will commute to work in this virtual world.” Please accept the fact that the majority of developers have this kind of thinking. Beware of disturbing them early in the morning while keep in mind they stick to their own fortress.
This is why developers seem lacking proper discipline and look unreliable. You are as steady as a clockwork. Your timetable is set up every single minute while your employee looks so lackadaisical. Unfortunately this kind of contrast can develop into a conflict, which could ultimately will question endanger the overall success of your project.
Still, wise managers will always find ways to approach software developers. See more in the coming chapter.
To be continued…