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For the past 10 years Cal has worked with PHP and MySQL on Linux, OSX, and Windows. He has built a variety of projects ranging in size from simple web pages to multi-million dollar web applications. When not banging his head on his monitor, attempting a blood sacrifice to get a particular piece of code working, he enjoys building and managing development teams using his widely imitated but never patented management style of "management by wandering around". Cal is a DZone MVB and is not an employee of DZone and has posted 28 posts at DZone. You can read more from them at their website. View Full User Profile

Man up! (A developer’s responsibility to their team)

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Dear Reader,

Regular readers know that if I have to answer a question more than once, I usually blog the answer so that I don’t have to answer it anymore. This is one of those posts. Also, I do apologize in advance to my female coder friends, the title wasn’t meant to be sexist.

Twice in the past 3 months I’ve had the same conversation with two different people.

Other: Well, they did it, they chose <solution X> over <solution Y>. They are so wrong. This is gonna be totally fubar. I’m not sure I can support this decision knowing how stupid it is.
Me: Were you involved in the discussion?
Other: Yes.
Me: Then, now that the decision is made, you have two and only two options. Either get behind the decision and do your job, or leave.

Look, it’s easy. As developers, we see people we don’t respect making decisions we don’t agree with. I know how difficult this position is because like every other developer in the world, I’ve been in this position. However, unlike a lot of developers I’ve talked to in recent years, I don’t see “digging my heals in” or whining as alternatives. If your company, or your leadership has made a decision you don’t agree with, you do only have two options.

  1. Man up, suck it up, grow a pair, put your big girl panties on, however you want to phrase it, you not only go along with the decision, you get behind it. You find a way to get your head back in the game and play. Why? because it’s your job. You are a member of a team. When the team decides to move, you move with it. You don’t decide to mope, you don’t decide that maybe if you are passive aggressive enough things will get better. You owe it to your team to get on board or move on to option number 2.
  2. Leave. Yes, get the hell out of Dodge. If you can’t get behind the decision, don’t try to bring the house down from within. Do the honorable thing and leave. If you can’t leave immediately then circle back around to option 1 until you can.

Yes, your job will suck for a while until you can relocate, nobody promised you happiness, just the pursuit of happiness.

I talk to a lot of people about how to build teams and the cornerstone of any good team is respect. Management has to respect developers and I firmly believe that. However, you as a developers, have to respect management as well. It is a two way street. It is your job to respect them and as soon as you find yourself in a position where you don’t or can’t, leave. Until then, man up and do your job.

Until next time,
I <3 |<

Published at DZone with permission of Cal Evans, author and DZone MVB. (source)

(Note: Opinions expressed in this article and its replies are the opinions of their respective authors and not those of DZone, Inc.)



Angelo Genovese replied on Mon, 2010/09/20 - 2:49pm

Well said! To me, things like this fall under the category of simple professionalism. Unfortunately there are far too many people in our field who lack that basic professionalism.

Karl Peterbauer replied on Wed, 2010/09/22 - 11:37am

Real life is not binary. Commitment is not a binary decision. Even good teams sometimes get on the wrong track. If you are convinced of a project, you will push really hard. If not, you may also just get the job done with minimal effort. Nothing bad about that, we're all humans after all.

Emma Watson replied on Fri, 2012/03/30 - 5:15am

Good post! However the question you asked about “Were you involved in the discussion?” should really be “Were you involved in the decision making process?”.
I agree with you that as a team member you should get behind any decision or leave. However if you and probably other members of the team were not considered whilst making a decision then you will end up disagreeing (openly and loudly).


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