Sunday, 7 May 2017

Illusory Comforts

I like process.

I appreciate that this is probably because it's in my nature to like order and predictability, but good process adds value, can often be automated, and frees up developers to do what they do best: create excellent software.

Bad process on the other hand is a killer.

It's a killer because it slows everything down.

It's a killer because it doesn't work, and is often bureaucratic.

But mostly it's a killer because it gives those in charge the illusion of progress.

I worked with a place once that outsourced their software development capability to an outfit that had CMM level 5 accreditation, and could prove it ... but developed the worst software I had ever encountered.  Yet senior management were blissfully unaware of the fact, or perhaps they were and didn't care.  They had achieved their outsourcing objectives, reduced resource costs, and achieved CMM level 5 in the process!  I bet bonuses were good that year.

A bad leader does not trust his team to do their job.  He tries to measure them, to enforce success via metrics and bad process.  It offers him an illusory comfort of progress to see the hours worked and lines of code per day metric increasing, but damn those inconvenient holidays!

A good leader understands that his team consists of people, not resources. Humans who need autonomy, mastery and purpose. Motivated individuals who will take pride in their work, and do their best to get the job done well.

And that's all you can ask of them, really.


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