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Are your engineer’s bees or chickens?

So, are your engineer’s bees or chickens?

Well, let’s talk about the differences, at least on my little farm.

The ten chickens are kept in a coop in the yard, where I provide food, water, and protection.

I check for egg production every day, and I am concerned if it falls below normal.

Production is, for them, a biological function that isn’t much impacted by happiness.

I keep them in the coop most of the time, but let them out for a few hours each day. This makes me feel good that I’m free ranging them, which is all the rage. I herd them back in the coop at night.

They stay because I control their movement, coaxing them here and there with food and treats.

The bees are kept in a hive, 300 feet from the house. I provide sugar-water for new hives.

I check for honey production every few months, but there’s no normal schedule.

If they are happy, they produce honey.

I check for mites every couple of months and treat for them annually.

I don’t keep them in, or let them out.

They stay because they want to – because the environment suits them.

When that changes, they leave for an environment that better suits them.

Chickens serve at my pleasure – but bees serve no master.

I can own hives but I can never own bees.

So, when I asked, “Are your engineer’s bees or chickens?” – I’m actually asking how you think about them.

Because I’ve found, that makes all the difference.

Build an environment that suits them, and they’ll happily produce sweet, golden software.

Lose sight of that goal, and they’ll be gone.

About Marcus Blankenship

Where other technical coaches focus on process or tools, I focus on the human aspects of your Programmer to Manager transition. I help you hire the right people, create the right culture, and setup the right process which achieves your goals. Managing your team isn't something you learned in college. In fact, my clients often tell me "I never prepared for this role, I always focused on doing the work". If you're ready to improve your leadership, process and team, find out how I can help you.

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