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"They just want to be left alone and code."

“Jamie just wants to be left and code.”

Does this sound familiar?
If so, maybe you have a developer who:
1. Doesn’t openly participate in retrospectives or team meetings
2. Complains meetings are a waste of time because they reduce engineering time
3. Doesn’t offer features suggestions or ideas to the group
4. Hates dealing with customers, peers or other departments
5. Is more concerned with the code than the users
6. Seems to wish they could work in isolation and just interact with the computer

I’ve had a few programmers like that.  When I was a young manager, I felt they were frustrating and short-sighted.  I didn’t understand them, and I didn’t think well of them.

Maybe it wasn’t always this way.

Thinking back, Jamie wasn’t always that way.  I had a very different impression from him during the job interview.  He was enthusiastic, full of ideas and excited to make a difference.  He wanted to understand the users, discuss product enhancement ideas and help the business succeed.  He wanted to do work that made a difference, and that he had a passion for.  I thought Jamie would be different than the others.

But now Jamie appeared to be only concerned with coding and complaining about non-coding work.

I guess that goes to show that programmers are all alike, and they only care about code, right?

Have you seen this?

What reasons can you think of for Jamie’s attitude change?
What role could I have played?
What role could the company environment play?
Do you have a ‘Jamie’?

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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