Stubborn Tech Workers | Jesse Fewell

Stubborn Tech Workers

By December 1, 2005Blog, Uncategorized

I was recently the tech lead on a project using Microsoft tools where one developer produced some code that was just hideous. So, like any diligent manager would do, I went back to coach him on the right way to do things. “I know you may have a preference for calling the same 14-parameter function over and over, but it would be better to design this thing in a more modular way. Try to make it look more like the coding standard, more like the conventional Microsoft design examples.” I even re-typed a couple files in the official format, to show him how to convert his work into a compliant manner. I was witty, I was considerate, I was brimming with satisfaction at my mentoring and training skills, and sent him on his way. But to my utter shock, he came back with some strange hybrid of my mandated standard and his personal preference…the same 14-parameter function was there, only prettier. Then it hit me: this guy has so much experience and tenure, he’s too set in his ways; there was no way he was going to do this without some “act of God”. What should I do? In
Leadership and the One-Minute Manager
, leadership guru Ken Blanchard says you partner with the person to determine whether they want to be a part of that group. If they don’t, help them determine where they do want to be. By defying the standards, renegade tech workers make an implicit, and maybe even subconcious, statement about not wanting to be there. All you have to do is help them find their home, elsewhere.

Of course, that’s the theory. What do you do if you’ve got an impending deadline? What if your PM or senior management tells you “No Attrition! Use the people you have!” I’m curious to hear what you’ve experienced.

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