This post originally appeared on Medium. Looking back, I wish someone had taken me to one side and told me to chill out. You jump in, save the day, and get the warm glow of being the hero or heroine. High fives! Go team! The opposite of the work hero is the person on the team who has kids. Suddenly, doing the occasional late night turns into a regular thing. By yourself. I work in software, yet I suspect this applies to anyone who does late night work. In those instances, it would have been far better for the company and for me to have just read a book or watched some TV.
Don't be a hero: Giving up is good – Signal v. Noise
Sometimes, the best code is no code at all. Whatever it is, you have to have a conversation and ask someone to cancel their weekend plans and come into the office, or work from home. Having been in it several times in the past, a disruptive, emergency-driven, long hour culture is now something that I am always aware of and concerned about. It can be bad for home life, and thus, bad for you and your company. Pictured above: Your most useful tool for discouraging a long hour culture is your office door. Use it.
The dev thought it was important to be able to handle any SOAP call and thus to have this library. He also thought this issue was urgent enough that it required from him to work late in the evening on it.
Worth a medal but clearly, I failed to communicate to him 1 that only a few defined SOAP calls would be required, making it possible to use a simple XML construction instead of a library and 2 that this whole thing, being a refacto of our codebase, was by no means an emergency requiring red-eye work. I now always overemphasise to my team the context of their work and the complexities I foresee in the implementation.
The more knowledge they have, the more they are able to take the right trade-offs to save their lifestyle when confronted with technical challenges. Similarly, good-willing programmers are also sometimes forced to put heroic tricks because of structural failures in their company.
This is especially true when it comes to the following critical points:. Developers are indeed particularly exposed to organisational failures in the course of projects as they reside at the right end of the value chain and will not be provided with the same buffer as their business peers. This is true even in Agile setups. Hero story: let me ask you a question here. Out of the devs and business people in your company, who are the ones spending the most on office-delivery pizzas during times of harsh projects?
Developers foot the highest bill!
University Senate launches Childcare Affordability Initiative to support student-parents
Call it the pizza syndrome: biz people eat up the buffer, developers eat pizza at night in the office as a consequence ;. This is of course inspiring, but tech work is first and foremost about team work.
Knowledge gathered by one developer over the course of an implementation that is not shared subsequently with the team is lost knowledge! Tech is all about co-learning, peer reviews, and mutual challenging. One should hence refrain from tackling too big challenges on their own just for the sake of achieving badass stuff. Hero story: in the early days of Seraphin , I was the only in-house developer.
I remember in particular the harsh process of migrating our entire production infrastructure from OVH to AWS a move we never regretted, of course. Well, although the whole thing was quite stressful and done absurdly late at night to minimise visible downtime , I still took the time to document every single action I took in the course of the migration.
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Now, 2 years down the road, this document is still being used in our team as a recipe to setup new modules of our infrastructure. I resisted the temptation of going fully solo at the time, and this proved super helpful afterwards. At the end of the day, this is all about preferring collaboration and development of team dynamics over personal achievements.
When understood by all, these principles help building more powerful teams with more meaningful interactions. I hope you found interest in them! Become a member. Sign in. Get started.
Don’t Be A Hero
Taking a stand against Bonnie Tyler. Thomas Vanderstraeten Follow. Loves tech entrepreneurship.