Marc Andreu

I have been a front end, backend and quality testing software engineer now I am following the path towards cybersecurity.

Devs environment disorder

Do developers prefer to work in chaotic environments? Let’s face it, we need someone to blame when things do not work as expected.

It is actually hard to self-inflict punishment and feel guilty about errors, bugs and mistakes. It is just natural that our psyche is always vigilant trying to protect us from danger.

Who or what gets the blame then? Well, it is easy, if we can not blame people because it is not polite, politically correct and blah blah blah …, then we have to blame the system, the machines, the virtual life, the cloud. I am not in favour of rude managers either, that is not the point yet.

This blame gets more and more credible when stakeholders drive technology. When the ‘what to do’ drives the ‘how to do it’. In this situation, technical teams have to constantly look for shortcuts, workarounds and hacks. This concept is well known in the industry as technical debt.

So this is the point, developers are usually good engineers and craftsman people. Business drives the ‘what to do’ because it is what the people want. These are two opposite forces constantly fighting for balance. In a perfect world, those two forces would be in perfect harmony and the development team would be highly productive.

But this is not true! There is a hidden entity, subject called the ‘Dark Side’ DS, that side of the technology that no one in the company controls anymore. It is alive and moves around slowly like a big fat monster. This monster eats all the productive ideas, time and budgets. This monster tilts the balance in favour of the technical teams. To get the system in constant equilibrium the organisations usually throw more money and resources on the business side.

Developers quickly learn how to live with the monster. They know it is always there. And this monster is the perfect subject to get all the blame floating around. All that unassigned blame gets pushed down to the ‘dark side’ monster. The monster just gets more fat and bigger over time. The DS beast becomes the developer’s cute pet. In the end is a very useful cute monster and is part of the team. Allows developers to work free of guilt, responsibility and stress.

As far as the company can pay for the huge cost that the DS monster is eating, then everything looks normal. However, as the monster grows, the business side slows down, gets more frustrated and stressed. With enough time the project and potentially de organisation will be eaten by the DS beast.

So, in summary. Organisations should look for the DS monster and fight against it. Put money to build up the right infrastructure for the technical teams, not on the business side to sell more and faster. Selling more and faster will be the side effect of growing the technical solutions to a higher level of performance. This is the actual growth in the tech industry. More people is not the best strategy either. More tools, training and professional resources for the small teams would be much more productive over time.

This is all, I hope it helps.

Posted by Marc Andreu