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AllYou Jokers
CoderFaire Nashville
17 Aug 2013
Paul M. Jones
@pmjones
http://paul-m-jones.com
Read These
???
Let's Play A Game
• Make Paul Feel Old!
About Me
• Programming for 30 years
• TI-BASIC, Pascal, Fortran,
Perl, C, C++, xBASE, Java,
JavaScript, PHP
• Only/Jr/Sr D...
AllYou Jokers?
• Abstract required very early
• Classic definition of "insanity"
• Old subject: us as developers
The Joke's On Us
• New subject: organizations
• Organizational behaviors
• Typical developer responses
to organizational i...
Organizational
Structures
• Commitment-oriented
organization
• Process-oriented
organization
• Both are good forms
when used properly
• Third form, ...
Commitment-Oriented
• AKA "hero," "rock star", or
"individual empowerment"
• Best possible people
• Near-complete autonomy...
Process-Oriented
• Planning, specifications
• Standardized processes
• Attention to schedule
• Software best practices
• Co...
Cargo Cult Mix
• Little autonomy or
authority, but need
"commitment"
• Schedule paramount;
long hours to cover
missed esti...
Why Do This?
• Use appealing elements, justify with
"IBM does this" or "Microsoft does that"
• Failure to realize that ele...
Power Imbalance
• Decision-makers get all
upside and no downside
(short project vs long)
• Bad schedule decisions?
Get "co...
Why No Changes?
• We talk about technology,
algorithms, patterns,
practices ...
• ... but not about social,
managerial, or...
It Keeps Happening
• You train others how to treat you
• Using your good will against you
• "If I do it one more time, I'l...
Options
• Let the organization change
• Nobody is coming to save you
• Change your own responses
• Re-train others to trea...
The Work Of Change
RethinkYour Relationship
• Not going to be there for 20 years (5?)
• Only two exits: quit/resign, fired/laid off
• No need ...
Objections
• "I like to do the work."
• "I want to be seen as loyal."
• "They have the money."
• "I have to do what they s...
Power OfYour Own
Engineers have the power
to create and sustain.
Non-engineers can order people
around, but in a typical s...
Recalibrate
• Not "disloyal" or "uncommitted"
• Calibrate your attitude/expectations/
responses appropriately
• What will ...
Cultivate A New Attitude
• "I might need a job,
but I don't need this job."
• Once you truly have this
attitude, you becom...
Example: Overtime
• Schedule pressure very common
• Decision-maker dictated the schedule
• Time is tight, not enough scope...
Response From Weakness
• "OK boss."
• Nights and weekends
• Missed personal/family time
• No commensurate reward
• Impose ...
Response From Strength (1)
• Calibrate properly
• Asking is different than demanding
• "Emergency" or "predictable"?
• Wha...
Response From Strength (2)
• "I have other commitments."
• "What should I stop doing to do this instead?"
• "I'll do what ...
Response From Strength (3)
• Cultivate and honor these responses from
your team members
• Send them home at the end of the...
Consequences (1)
• Resentment (employer and employee)
• Bad reviews, lower raises, lower bonuses
• Pressure to commit unde...
Consequences (2)
• "Office Space" scenario
• Change organizational behavior
(feeling effects of poor decisions)
• Confidence...
With Great Power...
• You already have it
• Savings and no debt
• Build respect and trust
ExercisingYour Power
Constraints To Power
• Use for good or evil
• Honest, faithful, true
• Integrity and responsibility
Don't Get Defensive
• No whining, no indignation, no extended
explanation, no ultimatums
• Maintain dignity, maintain fram...
Disagree Agreeably
• Team cohesion is still important
• State your position so you know they
understand what you mean
• If...
Don't Be A Bully
• Physically powerful people usually learn that
physical intimidation is not socially
acceptable
• Mental...
Conclusion
• Commitment, process, and "cargo cult"
• Recognize and exercise your own power
• Act from strength, not weakne...
Thanks!
@pmjones
http://paul-m-jones.com/archives/4691
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All You Jokers

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Transcript of "All You Jokers"

  1. 1. AllYou Jokers CoderFaire Nashville 17 Aug 2013 Paul M. Jones @pmjones http://paul-m-jones.com
  2. 2. Read These ???
  3. 3. Let's Play A Game • Make Paul Feel Old!
  4. 4. About Me • Programming for 30 years • TI-BASIC, Pascal, Fortran, Perl, C, C++, xBASE, Java, JavaScript, PHP • Only/Jr/Sr Developer, Team Lead,Architect, VP Engineering • Military (8 years USAF intel), Educational, Medical, Consulting, Product, Not-for-profit
  5. 5. AllYou Jokers? • Abstract required very early • Classic definition of "insanity" • Old subject: us as developers
  6. 6. The Joke's On Us • New subject: organizations • Organizational behaviors • Typical developer responses to organizational influences • Arm you with tools to recognize and deal with these behaviors
  7. 7. Organizational Structures
  8. 8. • Commitment-oriented organization • Process-oriented organization • Both are good forms when used properly • Third form, "cargo cult organization" Two Ideal Forms
  9. 9. Commitment-Oriented • AKA "hero," "rock star", or "individual empowerment" • Best possible people • Near-complete autonomy • Empowered with wide decision-making authority • Voluntary, personal commitments • Highly motivated • 60+ hour weeks • Reap rewards/failure directly Microsoft, Google, agile startup
  10. 10. Process-Oriented • Planning, specifications • Standardized processes • Attention to schedule • Software best practices • Continuous improvement • Administrative and bureaucratic • Documentation-heavy • Meeting-heavy • Regular and methodical • 40-hour work week NASA, IBM, medical
  11. 11. Cargo Cult Mix • Little autonomy or authority, but need "commitment" • Schedule paramount; long hours to cover missed estimates • Top-down processes until schedule slips, then heroes needed • Documentation- and meeting-heavy • No way to exceed expectations • Few rewards other than "thanks" • Repeated over and over and over
  12. 12. Why Do This? • Use appealing elements, justify with "IBM does this" or "Microsoft does that" • Failure to realize that elements are part of a system with tradeoffs/feedback • Normal human behavior, but destructive
  13. 13. Power Imbalance • Decision-makers get all upside and no downside (short project vs long) • Bad schedule decisions? Get "commitment" to "do what's needed" • Failure rested on backs of developers who did not make the decisions • Never learn because insulated from failure • No incentive to change • Trying to get stuff for free: commitment without authority • You suffer through
  14. 14. Why No Changes? • We talk about technology, algorithms, patterns, practices ... • ... but not about social, managerial, organizational aspects. • (except Laurie Kalmanson)
  15. 15. It Keeps Happening • You train others how to treat you • Using your good will against you • "If I do it one more time, I'll be rewarded" (aka "This time will be different") • Abusive relationship ("It's not that bad") • Dump and find another just like the old one
  16. 16. Options • Let the organization change • Nobody is coming to save you • Change your own responses • Re-train others to treat you differently
  17. 17. The Work Of Change
  18. 18. RethinkYour Relationship • Not going to be there for 20 years (5?) • Only two exits: quit/resign, fired/laid off • No need to suffer through bad treatment
  19. 19. Objections • "I like to do the work." • "I want to be seen as loyal." • "They have the money." • "I have to do what they say." • "I need this job." • "I have no power in the relationship."
  20. 20. Power OfYour Own Engineers have the power to create and sustain. Non-engineers can order people around, but in a typical software company [they] can create nothing on their own, and only have the power that engineers grant them. They can create and sustain nothing without engineers. -- "How To Be A Programmer," R. L. Read
  21. 21. Recalibrate • Not "disloyal" or "uncommitted" • Calibrate your attitude/expectations/ responses appropriately • What will happen in response? • Begin to deflect inappropriate demands • Re-train others on how to treat you
  22. 22. Cultivate A New Attitude • "I might need a job, but I don't need this job." • Once you truly have this attitude, you become free to exercise your power. • Actions come from a place of strength instead of weakness.
  23. 23. Example: Overtime • Schedule pressure very common • Decision-maker dictated the schedule • Time is tight, not enough scope reduction • "We need everyone to do what's necessary to ensure the success of this project for the company." • "Everyone" == "developers" (and QA)
  24. 24. Response From Weakness • "OK boss." • Nights and weekends • Missed personal/family time • No commensurate reward • Impose on your team • Organization never changes
  25. 25. Response From Strength (1) • Calibrate properly • Asking is different than demanding • "Emergency" or "predictable"? • What's the worst that can happen? • Point out how the problem was predictable • "Who decided on this schedule? Who else is working overtime?"
  26. 26. Response From Strength (2) • "I have other commitments." • "What should I stop doing to do this instead?" • "I'll do what I can, but I can't make any promises." • "When should I take the overtime as days off?" • "Can do."
  27. 27. Response From Strength (3) • Cultivate and honor these responses from your team members • Send them home at the end of the day • Your job is both to lead and to defend • Point out mismatches from the Ideal Forms (e.g., demanding long hours but not granting commensurate authority)
  28. 28. Consequences (1) • Resentment (employer and employee) • Bad reviews, lower raises, lower bonuses • Pressure to commit under duress • Fired • Result of changing attitude after being hired • Start new employer in strength
  29. 29. Consequences (2) • "Office Space" scenario • Change organizational behavior (feeling effects of poor decisions) • Confidence and respect
  30. 30. With Great Power...
  31. 31. • You already have it • Savings and no debt • Build respect and trust ExercisingYour Power
  32. 32. Constraints To Power • Use for good or evil • Honest, faithful, true • Integrity and responsibility
  33. 33. Don't Get Defensive • No whining, no indignation, no extended explanation, no ultimatums • Maintain dignity, maintain frame • Just start looking for other work
  34. 34. Disagree Agreeably • Team cohesion is still important • State your position so you know they understand what you mean • If others do not agree, let them disagree • Go along with the consensus plan but note your disagreement • If you end up being right, be kind but direct about it
  35. 35. Don't Be A Bully • Physically powerful people usually learn that physical intimidation is not socially acceptable • Mentally powerful people rarely learn that mental intimidation is not socially acceptable • You are a social animal • Do not burn your social bridges
  36. 36. Conclusion • Commitment, process, and "cargo cult" • Recognize and exercise your own power • Act from strength, not weakness • Do with responsibility and integrity • Not trying to make you a monster • Trying to put you ahead of the curve
  37. 37. Thanks! @pmjones http://paul-m-jones.com/archives/4691
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