"The powers that be" is often a phrase used to describe those in a position of authority responsible for work. Distribution of resources would be a way to describe what managers do though resources include time, money and people.

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149
votes
14answers
9k views

How do you balance between “do it right” and “do it ASAP” in your daily work?

I find myself pondering over this question from time to time, again and again. I want to do things the right way: to write clean, understandable and correct code that is easy to maintain. However, ...
109
votes
15answers
41k views

What's the career path for a developer who doesn't like management?

If you're developer (Senior or Lead Developer) and you'd rather stay with code/design than pursue a management career, what are the available career paths at your company, or any you've heard of? How ...
79
votes
19answers
3k views

Dealing with management that does not see value in improvements that are not immediately visible to the user

I can understand schedule pressure. You want to please your users, as they are the lifeblood of the company. However, it is also true that certain changes will make everything easier down the road. ...
76
votes
20answers
6k views

Choosing between two programmers: experience vs. passion [closed]

I am in a position where I have to hire a programmer and have the option of 2 candidates, the first has experience but he doesn't have a passion for coding and he says so while the second doesn't have ...
74
votes
20answers
14k views

Is a company order to switch to a certain IDE a red flag?

I recently joined a rapidly growing startup. In the past 3 months the development team has grown from 4 to 12. Until now they were very laissez-faire about what developers used to do their work. In ...
69
votes
18answers
7k views

Reasons Programmers Leave [closed]

I am interested in finding out why programmers leave their jobs and if the reasons for leaving have resurfaced in your now job? Is the reason for leaving simply down to remuneration, location, I hate ...
57
votes
6answers
4k views

How does a non-technical manager add value to team of self-motivated software developers?

I am seeing a lot of programmers turning away from management and administration roles. They want to build stuff. And as a result, a lot of these positions are filled by non-technical people. I fail ...
51
votes
10answers
4k views

How to tell whether your programmers are under-performing?

I am a team lead with 5+ developers. I have a developer (let's call him A) who is a good programmer, who writes good clean, easy to understand code. However he is somewhat difficult to manage, and ...
46
votes
17answers
3k views

How do managers know if a person is a good or a bad programmer?

In most companies that do programming teams and divisions consist of programmers who design and write code and managers who... well, do the management stuff. Aside from just not writing code, ...
45
votes
10answers
12k views

Are SMART goals useful for programmers?

Several organisations I know use SMART goals for their programmers. SMART is an acronym for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-Bound. They are fairly common in large corporations. ...
43
votes
18answers
7k views

How to manage a developer who has poor communication skills

I manage a small team of developers on an application which is in the mid-point of its lifecycle, within a big firm. This unfortunately means there is commonly a 30/70 split of Programming tasks to ...
42
votes
16answers
4k views

What's your suggestion if the company didn't recognize my contribution towards a big project?

I am an entry level developer with 1 year of experience. I have worked on a large scale project which I have played around 80% of the project work, those 5 months were terrible to me - late nights ...
41
votes
6answers
12k views

“A good programmer can be as 10X times more productive than a mediocre one”

I had read an interview with a great programmer (it is not in English) and in it he said that "a great programmer can be as 10 times as good as a mediocre one" giving reason for why good programmers ...
37
votes
11answers
2k views

How do I prove to management that our programmers could work more productively?

Backstory I graduated less than a year ago with a degree in Computer Science (with extra courses in software engineering), and another degree in Software Engineering. I'd like to think that I'm ...
37
votes
8answers
2k views

What are the main things a programmer expects from the senior programmer?

Recently I read the following 5 Types Of Bosses and How To Deal With Them , which describes the attires of the worst boss. I've just started leading a small team of software developers. I would like ...
36
votes
13answers
3k views

Can a non-programmer successfully run a software company?

Back in 2006, one Joel Spolsky made the following comment: Watching non-programmers trying to run software companies is like watching someone who doesn't know how to surf trying to surf. ...
36
votes
15answers
2k views

Can you be a manager and a programmer at the same time?

Managing other programmers while you are yourself a part of the programming work force. It's a very common scheme, at least in the companies I worked for. Can you be a good programmer or a good ...
36
votes
3answers
1k views

Blaming the ills of today on the technical debt of yesterday

A surprising number of quality, scalability, and load problems have been occurring on an application I currently support that I did not originally write. Thankfully I have new projects that I have ...
34
votes
20answers
734 views

“Mentor” a senior programmer or colleague without insulting

I don't have great social skills. Like many programmers I know, social skills are something that is worked on and developed over time because it's not a natural and 'inborn' trait. When a computer ...
33
votes
1answer
10k views

The Written Roles of Software Development Manager [closed]

We all know what a software development manager does, but I'm afraid that we only know it vaguely. We think we know what he is doing, but to exactly list down what is the job scope is a bit hard. In ...
32
votes
12answers
2k views

How to handle coworker with “obsessive refactoring disorder”

My coworker (who is very clever, but with severly limited inter-personal skills), keeps refactoring my code even when it is work in progress and assigned to me as a task. Whereas I fully subscribed to ...
31
votes
12answers
3k views

How possible is it to estimate time for programming projects? [duplicate]

It seems like it is nearly impossible to get close because you could run into any number of issues and things not first anticipated. How close can we be expected to reasonably estimate? Our PM wants ...
29
votes
5answers
2k views

How do you convince management to “invest” in unit tests?

How did you convince your manager to let you unit test? By "use", I mean being allowed to develop, check-in to source control and maintain the unit tests over time, etc. Typical management ...
28
votes
18answers
1k views

Why companies don't buy developers entertaining instruments? [closed]

Many times when I get tired of development and my mind doesn't really help me any more (at home), I simply do something entertaining and my mind gets free for more hours of work with higher ...
28
votes
10answers
1k views

How does one manage an intern effectively? [duplicate]

An intern will be starting with us soon for a couple months before going off to university. The intern is straight-out of high school and has some programming experience, but has never taken a ...
27
votes
12answers
2k views

What you should do if your junior did not adopt your suggestion? [closed]

I am leading a team of 3-4 junior developers. My job-- besides writing code-- is to provide supervision and guidance for the juniors. But, I fully understand how much developers cherish autonomy in ...
25
votes
11answers
1k views

How do you keep cool when production system goes down? [closed]

This has happened to most of us... You come to work one day. Everything seems normal - the sun is shining, birds are chirping, but you notice a couple of weird things on your way to work that remind ...
24
votes
3answers
2k views

Introducing Scala to a Technical Manager

I've been promoting Scala at work as something we should try out for things like testing with Specs http://code.google.com/p/specs/ and rapid prototyping of web services with tools like Scalatra ...
23
votes
3answers
608 views

Check-list to avoid vendor lock-in?

Is there a set of industry approved rules to avoid vendor lock-in? I mean something one can show to a manager or other decision maker that is easy to understand and easily verifiable. Are there any ...
22
votes
10answers
2k views

Are performance and salary reviews *really* harmful?

In the second edition of PeopleWare, DeMarco and Lister suggest that annual performance and salary reviews foster teamicide because they encourage competition within the team. Spolsky re-iterates this ...
22
votes
9answers
29k views

What subject do you discuss with your manager during a one-on-one? [closed]

Every week, I have a 30 minutes meeting scheduled with my manager to talk about pretty much anything. So far, I haven't taken those one-on-one very seriously. As a new year resolution, I would like to ...
21
votes
21answers
2k views

If you were the manager of a team of 25 developers, how would you motivate them? [closed]

Imagine yourself hired by a new startup backed with few millions coming from venture capitalists. Your mission: organize the development of the next killer app. 25 developers is too much to take ...
21
votes
12answers
2k views

How to manage a developer with good knowledge of programming language but very poor analytical skills

I work as a team lead in a fast-growing services company. There is one developer in my team who's not performing well, and unable to solve even the simplest of the problems without being spoon-fed. ...
21
votes
4answers
1k views

Cannot understand a certain point in Agile Manifesto Principles

I was reading Agile Manifesto Principles. Everything seems clear and reasonable except for one point: Simplicity--the art of maximizing the amount of work not done--is essential. I dont ...
21
votes
15answers
424 views

Change management's mind?

As a programmer working in an insurance office, I have a nasty little management hierarchy which is making programming much harder. At current, our IT department rates a three on The Joel Test, which ...
20
votes
14answers
1k views

How managers choose programming languages

It's not a secret to anyone that managers can and often will impose the programming language that will be used for a project. Being a programmer myself, I have never been able to understand this. ...
20
votes
9answers
7k views

Explaining technical things to non-technical people [closed]

I often have to explain technical things and technical decisions to my extremely non technical manager and I'm pretty awful at it. What are good ways to essential dumb things down for the rest of the ...
20
votes
8answers
4k views

How to Structure Bonuses for Software Developers? [duplicate]

I am a software developer, and have been asked to define a bonus structure for myself by recommending the metrics that will determine my bonus. I think, once I have defined this bonus structure, there ...
20
votes
4answers
619 views

How to create a “cult of quality” [closed]

DeMarco and Lister (Peopleware) suggest you create a "cult of quality" within your programming team. Frustratingly, they don't suggest how you go about doing that! Anyone got any thoughts on how to ...
20
votes
4answers
310 views

Building a satisfying community at work

In the influential "Peopleware", DeMarco and Lister state that an organisation that builds a satisfying community will tend to keep it's people. We have about 40 programmers at work. How do we go ...
19
votes
26answers
879 views

How to deal with the developers refusing to use certain technologies or tools?

How to deal with the developers refusing to use certain technologies or tools? Note: Good help is hard to find, so answer 'Let them go' doesn't work in this case. Besides, they are very good in what ...
19
votes
10answers
4k views

When/why is it easier to beg forgiveness than ask permission? [closed]

The saying "It's easier to beg forgiveness than ask permission" seems pretty popular among programmers and IIRC was attributed to Grace Hopper. In what situations is this typically true, and why do ...
19
votes
10answers
714 views

How do you help your fellow programmers to grow?

As a team lead, how can you help your programmers to grow? The reason I ask this is because there are a few programmers working with me, and I really want to "turn them on the loose", to realize ...
17
votes
8answers
2k views

Does a mature agile team requires any management?

After a recent heated debate over Scrum, I realized my problem is that I think of management as a quite unnecessary and redundant activity in a fully agile team. I believe a mature Agile team does not ...
17
votes
11answers
1k views

So they're trying to pull me into management [closed]

I work in a small IT department in a non tech company. My manager recently quit and they are looking for a replacement. I guess since I'm one of those "rare" developers with people skills, the ...
17
votes
12answers
849 views

What makes Agile software development so appealing?

Agile software development is becoming a pretty fun buzzword these days. As a developer, I understand the pragmatic value of iterative development, but (most often) it isn't a developers choice to ...
16
votes
10answers
2k views

How can I quickly weed out “copy & paste” coders?

I need a way to filter out resumes of folks who just copy-and-paste code then hope it works, and check it in if it does. All this happens without having an understanding (or care) to understand the ...
16
votes
13answers
904 views

What do you do when you realize your job requires you to do something out of your depth?

For a large software project recently, I was really out of my depth. And I did actually know this; and that the only reason I was employed was mostly a lack of other qualified candidates. The job was ...
15
votes
11answers
1k views

Is going into management a bad way to deal with development burnout? [closed]

I'm burnt out on programming. There was recently a job opening in my department for a manager (IT mgr position). The department head encouraged me to apply and thinks I would be a good fit...but I'm ...
15
votes
10answers
647 views

Inspiring People [closed]

So I work with a few people that I feel are intelligent but don't seem to be working out well. After working with them for a while I have seen the flashes of brilliance but mostly I see a reliance on ...