All You 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 influences • Arm you with tools to recognize and deal with these behaviors
Two Ideal Forms • Commitment-oriented organization • Process-oriented organization • Both are good forms when used properly • Third form, "cargo cult organization"
Commitment-Oriented • AKA "hero," "rock star", or • Voluntary, personal "individual empowerment" commitments • Best possible people • Highly motivated • Near-complete autonomy • 60+ hour weeks • Empowered with wide • Reap rewards/failure decision-making authority directly Microsoft, Google, agile startup
Process-Oriented • Planning, specifications • Administrative and bureaucratic • Standardized processes • Documentation-heavy • Attention to schedule • Meeting-heavy • Software best practices • Regular and methodical • Continuous improvement • 40-hour work week NASA, IBM, medical
Cargo Cult Mix • Little autonomy or • Documentation- and authority, but need meeting-heavy "commitment" • No way to exceed • Schedule paramount; expectations long hours to cover missed estimates • Few rewards other than "thanks" • Top-down processes until schedule slips, • Repeated over and then heroes needed over and over
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
Power Imbalance • Decision-makers get al • Never learn because upside and no downside insulated from failure (short project vs long) • No incentive to change • Bad schedule decisions? Get "commitment" to • Trying to get stuff for "do what's needed" free: commitment without authority • Failure rested on backs of developers who did • You suffer through not make the decisions
Why No Changes? • We talk about technology, algorithms, patterns, practices . . • . . but not about social, managerial, organizational aspects. • (except Laurie Kalmanson)
It Keeps Happening • You train others how to treat you • Using your good wil against you • "If I do it one more time, I'll be rewarded" (aka "This time wil be different") • Abusive relationship ("It's not that bad") • Dump and find another just like the old one
Options • Let the organization change • Nobody is coming to save you • Change your own responses • Re-train others to treat you differently
The Work Of Change
Rethink Your 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
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."
Power Of Your 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
Recalibrate • Not "disloyal" or "uncommitted" • Calibrate your attitude/expectations/ responses appropriately • What wil happen in response? • Begin to deflect inappropriate demands • Re-train others on how to treat you
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.
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)
Response From Weakness • "OK boss." • Nights and weekends • Missed personal/family time • No commensurate reward • Impose on your team • Organization never changes
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?"
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."
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)
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
Consequences (2) • "Office Space" scenario • Change organizational behavior (feeling effects of poor decisions) • Confidence and respect
With Great Power. .
Exercising Your Power • You already have it • Savings and no debt • Build respect and trust
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 frame • Just start looking for other work
Disagree Agreeably • Team cohesion is stil 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
Don't Be A Bully • Physical y powerful people usual y learn that physical intimidation is not social y acceptable • Mental y powerful people rarely learn that mental intimidation is not social y acceptable • You are a social animal • Do not burn your social bridges
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