Rockstars &ConsultantsWho needs ‘em?
Lori M Olson@wndxlori                            Photo Credit: @etrever
So...Who needs them?
YOU do.
Everyone does
What makes a rockstar?
They know*everything*
They’ve“done it all before”
Super productive
They have no fear
What makes a consultant?
*knows*one thing very, very        well
know*hard* things
deep knowledge pool
Why not?
Photo Credit: I can haz Cheezburger
@ezmobius: So dont forget to get upfrom ur desk and get some exercise. 4years of 14 hour, red bull fueled dayssitting in a...
_why the lucky stiff,  @wayneeseguin
the big payoff
Hit by a bus
Looney Tunes: Fast & Furryous
Prima Donna
Don’t come cheap
Wildly expensive
Impedance Mismatch
Bait & switch
Knowledge walking   out the door
KNOW your team
KNOW your ecosystem
Identify coretechnologies
Railsor Sinatra or...
JavaScriptor CoffeeScript
Test::Unitor RSpec
Mocking framework
Integrationor Acceptance testing
Client side testing
Learn, absorb, try
Self Learning
web based
read books
lunch & learn
bar camp
Replacement costs
Valued people, stay.
Split Responsibilities
The Primary
The Secondary
Not enough?
mailing lists
ask questions
answer questions
Stay on Top
know the issues
Plan for upgrades
beta tests
release candidates
release ATFT!
So, what does “GROW your TEAM” mean?
Develop Expertise
DevelopParticipation                       Expertise            Training
Thanks!Lori M Olson@wndxlori
Rockstars & Consultants - who needs 'em
Upcoming SlideShare
Loading in …5

Rockstars & Consultants - who needs 'em


Published on

Sound familiar? The Rails ecosystem is growing in leaps and bounds, like the Java ecosystem did in its’ early days. So many languages, frameworks, plugins, engines, libraries and tools. So little time to deliver your new project.

It’s tempting to hire a rock star who knows absolutely everything to get your new project off the ground. You can also hire "consultants" to help fill in the holes in your team when taking your existing product to the next level. Or maybe just hire a whole bunch of people for cheap, and they’ll get the job done... But did you ever consider the untapped wealth of the team you already have?

In this session we’ll explore ways in which the average development team can explore, learn, teach, and grow, until the sum of members of the team is as great as any Consultant or Rockstar.

Published in: Technology, Design
  • Be the first to comment

  • Be the first to like this

No Downloads
Total views
On SlideShare
From Embeds
Number of Embeds
Embeds 0
No embeds

No notes for slide
  • \n
  • \n
  • \n
  • \n
  • Pretty much everyone does\n
  • The real question is why do we think we need a rockstar or a consultant?\n
  • \n
  • But not just that. Rockstars are self-motivated learners. They learn new things, because they enjoy learning new things.\n
  • \n
  • They’ll “get ‘er done fast”, and push that critical release out the door\n
  • The difficult we do immediately, the impossible could take a little longer.\n
  • Couple different kinds\n
  • These would be your experts. They have deep knowledge of a critical piece of technology\n
  • Your team thinks a problem is really too hard, then you bring in the expert(s). Things that are hard to learn. Things that are difficult to understand.\n
  • Consultancies have a vast pool of knowledge to call upon, from their colleagues.\n
  • So, if Rockstars & Consultants are so great, why would you not want to hire them?\n
  • \n
  • Self motivated learners... once there is nothing new to learn, they get bored, and they run away when the next opportunity to learn presents itself. Or worse, they don’t run away, and start...\n
  • \n
  • Know everything, does everything, works insane hours, burns out...\n
  • Ezra (don’t make me say his last name, I’ll screw it up) posted this last week.\n
  • Community examples of burnout.\n\nOver-reaction to circumstances, amplified by stress. If that’s not burnout...\n
  • Some of your rockstars are just looking for the what I like to call the illusion of the big payoff. If you don’t produce that, they’ll move on for another try. You do? then they retire.\n
  • \n
  • \n
  • someone who behaves in demanding, often temperamental, fashion revealing an inflated view of themselves, their talent, and their importance\n\nWhat if they are hard to work with? They can be mono-focused and not open to new, alternative ideas.\n
  • \n
  • Consultants on the other hand...\n
  • Communications issues\n
  • The ole bait & switch. You hire them for their expertise, and they send in the B-team.\n
  • All that knowledge that they came in with? Most of it walks out the door with them, when the contract ends\n
  • \n
  • So what *are* your alternatives\n
  • How about you spend some time and grow your own team.\n\nGrow is such an interesting word. We’ll come back to it, and reflect on the many aspects of grow.\n
  • You won’t be able to effectively grow your team, unless you know your team. \n\nsingle? workaholic? married? kids? pets? aging parents? illnesses?\n\nThese are never things to be discriminated about, just ... knowing enough about your people to apply them to the problems at hand in the most effective way.\n
  • \n
  • everything involved in the devops of your application or project development\n
  • \n
  • \n
  • MRI or JRuby? 1.8 or 1.9?\n
  • Node.js or Backbone.js\n
  • \n
  • \n
  • \n
  • \n
  • \n
  • Mocha, Flexmock, Factory Girl\n
  • Cucumber\n
  • Jasmine\n
  • OS, Editor(s), VCS, debuggers, profilers, CI\n
  • \n
  • Not just from the user side, but the configuration and customization side of things\n
  • Linux, Hardware, memory, RAID, firewalls, etc\nCloud, EC2, S3\nCapistrano, SSH\nApache, Nginx, Passenger, Load Balancer\n
  • Backups, Monitoring\n
  • How does any one person keep on top of all of that? Poorly, at best. What to do?\nThere’s got to be an alternative... \n
  •\nKeith Richards of the Rolling Stones in the early days\nDina Regine\n\n
  • \n
  • Training is as much about time, as it is about money\n
  • \n
  • \n
  • \n
  • \n
  • \n
  • \n
  • \n
  • \n
  • Conferences are great <wink, wink> learning experiences.\n
  • If you spend money, as well as time, on all this training, make certain it’s shared.\n
  • \n
  • Back to “know your team”. If they are all married with kids, Bar Camp = bad idea. Lunch & Learn = good idea. Bunch of single workaholics? Bar Camp all the way.\n
  • What if they take all that training and leave?\n
  • Replacing an unhappy developer who walks away is almost always going to cost you more than doing what’s necessary to keep them. Not just in terms of finders fees, but time. Lots and lots of time. \n
  • If you prove to people that they are valued, they will be more likely to stay, than those who think that they are just another warm body, down in the trenches.\n
  • Make certain that every person on the team is engaged, and feels ownership.\n
  • Collective code ownership is great, but as we’ve just demonstrated, not everyone can be an expert in every piece of the puzzle.\nFor each core technology, you need to identify a primary and secondary point person\n
  • The go-to person for that piece of the puzzle. \n
  • Remember when we talked about that “hit by a bus” thing? How about vacations? Sick Leave, Mat leave?\n
  • Just declaring primary and secondary point person is not enough. You need more.\n
  • I guess given that so many developers are introverts, it shouldn’t be surprising, but... you can’t just sit back, you need to step up and participate.\n
  • There are hundreds of resources out on the web, USE THEM.\n
  • \n
  • \n
  • \n
  • \n
  • \n
  • \n
  • \n
  • \n
  • Everyone has to start somewhere. The point is to make the effort to stay on top of at least one thing\n
  • What are the bugs? Incompatibilities? Stability issues?\n
  • Unless your tool is stagnant and never changes (code smell! run away!), you’ll need to manage your updates\n
  • Participate. Don’t have to inflict on your team, but try it out, get an idea of what the impact will be. If you need a second opinion, that’s why you’ve got a secondary.\n
  • Use them. \n
  • \n
  • And, as my PSA of the presentation, if it’s open source, then for gawd’s sake contribute!\n
  • Did I mention that this takes time? Corey Haines posted an great link the other day on Twitter that talks about technical debt, and the perils of working at an unsustainable pace. Make sure that your real pace includes the time for people to do their jobs, develop their expertise, and and have a life, too.\n
  • \n
  • \n
  • \n
  • \n
  • \n
  • Training, Participation, Developing Expertise... All these things combine into a continuous improvement process for your team. And that is better than all the Rockstars & Consultants out there.\n
  • \n
  • Rockstars & Consultants - who needs 'em

    1. 1. Rockstars &ConsultantsWho needs ‘em?
    2. 2. Lori M Olson@wndxlori Photo Credit: @etrever
    3. 3. So...Who needs them?
    4. 4. YOU do.
    5. 5. Everyone does
    6. 6. Why?
    7. 7. What makes a rockstar?
    8. 8. They know*everything*
    9. 9.
    10. 10. They’ve“done it all before”
    11. 11. Super productive
    12. 12.
    13. 13. They have no fear
    14. 14. What makes a consultant?
    15. 15. *knows*one thing very, very well
    16. 16.
    17. 17. know*hard* things
    18. 18.
    19. 19. deep knowledge pool
    20. 20.
    21. 21. Why not?
    22. 22. Risks
    23. 23. Boredom
    24. 24. Photo Credit: I can haz Cheezburger
    25. 25. Burnout
    26. 26. @ezmobius: So dont forget to get upfrom ur desk and get some exercise. 4years of 14 hour, red bull fueled dayssitting in a chair can kill you!
    27. 27. _why the lucky stiff, @wayneeseguin
    28. 28. the big payoff
    29. 29. Hit by a bus
    30. 30. Looney Tunes: Fast & Furryous
    31. 31. Prima Donna
    32. 32. Don’t come cheap
    33. 33. Wildly expensive
    34. 34. Impedance Mismatch
    35. 35. Bait & switch
    36. 36.
    37. 37. Knowledge walking out the door
    38. 38. Alternatives?
    39. 39. GROW your TEAM
    40. 40. KNOW your team
    41. 41. KNOW your ecosystem
    42. 42. Identify coretechnologies
    43. 43. Dev
    44. 44. Basics
    45. 45. Ruby
    46. 46. Railsor Sinatra or...
    47. 47. HTMLor HAML
    48. 48. CSSor SASSor SCSS
    49. 49. JavaScriptor CoffeeScript
    50. 50. Testing
    51. 51. Test::Unitor RSpec
    52. 52. Mocking framework
    53. 53. Integrationor Acceptance testing
    54. 54. Client side testing
    55. 55. Toolset
    56. 56. Ops
    57. 57. OS, DB
    58. 58. Deploy
    59. 59. Manage
    60. 60. HOW?
    61. 61.
    62. 62.
    63. 63. Training
    64. 64. TIME
    65. 65. Learn, absorb, try
    66. 66. Self Learning
    67. 67. web based
    68. 68. screencasts
    69. 69. read books
    70. 70. Formal
    71. 71. courses
    72. 72. certifications
    73. 73. conferences
    74. 74. Share
    75. 75. lunch & learn
    76. 76. bar camp
    77. 77. But?
    78. 78. Replacement costs
    79. 79. Valued people, stay.
    80. 80. Engage
    81. 81. Split Responsibilities
    82. 82. The Primary
    83. 83. The Secondary
    84. 84. Not enough?
    85. 85. Par-ti-ci-pa-tion
    86. 86. Resources
    87. 87. mailing lists
    88. 88. blogs
    89. 89. twitter
    90. 90. irc
    91. 91. forums
    92. 92. lurk
    93. 93. ask questions
    94. 94. answer questions
    95. 95. Stay on Top
    96. 96. know the issues
    97. 97. Plan for upgrades
    98. 98. beta tests
    99. 99. release candidates
    100. 100. release ATFT!
    101. 101. contribute
    102. 102. TIME
    103. 103. So, what does “GROW your TEAM” mean?
    104. 104. Training
    105. 105. Participation
    106. 106. Develop Expertise
    107. 107. DevelopParticipation Expertise Training
    108. 108. ContinuousImprovement!
    109. 109. Thanks!Lori M Olson@wndxlori