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Let Your Programmers Be Silly

  Phil! Been      2012-01-29 04:31:56      1,461    0

Nutter, Practitioner, Visionary

You’re in the middle of a crazy startup development sprint. Pressure is sky high as you might have to fire everyone if you don’t generate significant traction over the next 4 months. Make it or #fail situation.

The guys (I wish we’d have girls but … wait we have a student, anyway) are killing tickets and you’re pretty much on the target you’ve set with your investors. Not comfortably confident but ok.

And you catch your guys debating, for multiple days, whether they should be using “n/a” or a slashed zero to represent a div by zero result of a number which have close to zero business impact.

Stay calm. This is a key moment to show you’re cool. Sure it sounds silly. But they’ve been killing tickets. They deserve a little air to debate stuff they care about. But more than that. I believe that’s how programmers make the product their own. Tiny irrelevant design details become important if they do care about it. After all, they are building the product and deserve the right to design some part of it. Let them own it and make it their own. This is also (even more) true for code. Things that are meaningless to you like adding white spaces between conjunctions and variables matter because that’s how they own it. If they think it’s prettier and more beautiful that way, let them do it. Everybody wins if it brings happiness in the workplace.

Don’t stop them. Make sure they understand priorities and deadlines, but after that, let them free.




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