Tuesday, July 14, 2009

How To Overcompensate For Something

In the spirit of the old name of this blog, Ranting Techno Rave, this is a rant about a personal experience. This happened in the line of duty, so it is on topic. Has anyone else dealt with this kind of thing? Tell me about it.

This title is purposefully "provoking" and if you're the one I'm talking about, you know who you are. This might even apply to you if you're someone else with the same kind of behavior. Maybe you know or have to work with someone that exhibits the particular personality traits I've had to deal with. In whatever way this applies to you now or in the future, beware as much if you are this type of coder as if you have to deal with one of them.

The lone ranger was a terrible cowboy.

Assertive personalities are important. They point out mistakes, instead of allowing problems through inaction. There is an issue of tact, as a line one needs to watch as they walk the road of the assertive. Code review requires assertion as you tell someone, "You're doing it wrong."

Rather than try to artfully explain and avoid the background of this post, I'm going to just present you with A List of Rules When Joining a Team:
  • Don't insult the code you were hired to work on. Don't insult the coders you were hired to work with. This was actually legacy stuff I was trying to replace, myself, but "What kind of an idiot wrote this?" was a bad enough question when you only thought I wrote it. If I had, I would have removed you immediately (and I should have, anyway)
  • Before you write a single line of code, don't claim you can write all of it yourself.
  • When your new team's lead developer leaves you with a set of bugs before leaving on a pre-scheduled holiday, don't let him return to find the existing code base deleted and a bunch of new stub files checked into a new repository.
  • Respond to email.
  • Actually do your job before taking the money.
  • Last, but not least, please, please, please let me be in the position to yay or nay your application a second time.

1 comment:

Marius Gedminas said...

Interesting. I don't have quite the same reaction to "What idiot wrote this?", but that's perhaps because I'm part of the team who developed the software in question from scratch, and in most of those cases a quick svn blame showed that the idiot in question was myself. Now that I think of it more, I'd be reluctant to use the phrase when working on someone else's code.

The rest of the points sound pretty damning.

I write here about programming, how to program better, things I think are neat and are related to programming. I might write other things at my personal website.

I am happily employed by the excellent Caktus Group, located in beautiful and friendly Carrboro, NC, where I work with Python, Django, and Javascript.

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