672 reputation
511
bio website acentric.com.au
location Adelaide, Australia
age 32
visits member for 3 years, 7 months
seen May 10 at 5:22

I'm absolutely passionate about delivering great software, but the days of the solo-developer are already passing into history. Today, delivering great software means being an active and supportive member of a team. It means knowing how to listen carefully, encourage sincerely, criticise constructively and lead when necessary. And great teams deliver.


May
9
awarded  Notable Question
Nov
30
awarded  Yearling
Jan
24
awarded  Good Question
Nov
30
awarded  Yearling
Nov
30
awarded  Yearling
Jul
21
awarded  Popular Question
Jul
8
comment How do you deal with an information hoarder?
@Anonymous Type - The question is about how to handle information bottle-necks that can occur on a development team and move forward. When I wrote it, I had assumed that all hoarders were trying to entrench themselves. From some of the posts, it is clear that this is not the case. And some very practical suggestions have been made for working with hoarders who lack the communications skills to remove the bottle neck. This perspective is important to avoid undue antagonism. This isn't a hoarder-hate club, I just wanted to know how to deal with a common development problem better :-)
Jul
7
comment How do you deal with an information hoarder?
@Anonymous Type - I think @asoundmove's point is that the hoarding itself is not necessarily intentional. The hoarder discovers knowledge in the course of his work but he doesn't necessarily have the skills to pass the knowledge on.
May
14
accepted How do you deal with an information hoarder?
May
7
comment How do you deal with an information hoarder?
@Phoenix - the other thing is the different needs of developers at different points in their careers. An experienced senior developer doesn't want/need to be micro-managed by his team leader. They just need to touch base every so often. They're quite capable of delving into a complex system and figuring it out. And they know when to escalate things if they get stuck. On the other hand a junior will quickly get out of his depth and will worry about looking stupid if he asks for help. So you have to intervene and support juniors much more. And it's the juniors that really suffer from hoarders.
May
6
comment How do you deal with an information hoarder?
@asoundmove - I agree with you. I think my original question was tainted with a negative assumption about the motives of the hoarder. Some other posts have highlighted many ways in which a hoarder can become such without any kind of selfishness intention. I've edited the question to make it more balanced. in particular I've replaced the word "refuse" with the word "fail". Sorry if makes your comments appear out of context.
May
6
revised How do you deal with an information hoarder?
Edited to remove the negative "hoarding" associations and ask a more balanced question.
May
5
comment How do you deal with an information hoarder?
Yeah - if our budget was augmented with a few giant bags of money our retention issues would be solved ;-)
May
5
comment How do you deal with an information hoarder?
@Philip - I agree that if nobody will read it then it's pointless to write documents. But I'm struggling to think of when that can occur. If the work you are doing is likely to outlast your stint in that job, then someone besides you must maintain it. I've found that adding design documents, and configuration tutorials to our development wiki has really helped free me up as a bottleneck on my team. Sure staff prefer to just ask me things, but if I refer them to the wiki enough, they break the bad habits.
May
5
answered Scrum for a single programmer?
May
5
comment How do you deal with an information hoarder?
I guess what I mean is, we're not talking about getting rid of the good programmers with all of the knowledge, we want to keep them doing the good work that they do, and we also want the other programmers to be able to work effectively too. I see what you mean about the "dog eat dog" thing. You think the struggle for quality information is beneficial in the long run. It's just in my experience, recruits with any kind of talent or passion get so frustrated with how hard it is to do anything without information sharing that they quit pretty quickly and go work somewhere more supportive.
May
5
comment How do you deal with an information hoarder?
In traditional Australian Aboriginal culture, they didn't have writing, so instead they made information scarce and therefore valuable. Only the most respected elders could be entrusted with the responsibility of passing on the learning of the ages. Those that wanted information 1) had to be worthy of it, and 2) had to pay for it. This worked fine for about 30000 years and then some dudes with writing came along and the problem with sharing information perfectly was solved. What you describe sounds like the Aboriginal way which works - but wouldn't it be even better if they just wrote it down?
May
4
comment How do you deal with an information hoarder?
@Phoenix - tell the guys to figure it out themselves and the journey will hone their skills? I guess every cloud has a silver lining ;-) i'd rather work somewhere where I got help and support than dog eat dog...
May
4
comment How do you deal with an information hoarder?
@Philip - when you're a junior dev, all you want to do is code. But as you gain seniority and become a team leader, you realize that most systems need lots of skilled people to collaborate and build a solution that no single person can do alone. So the best code is no longer the fastest, or smartest, but the simplest. Helping your team mates is the best way to build awesome software. I don't love writing documentation, but the thought of my "name" being cursed years hence for being the dev who built this big ball of mud is enough incentive to try to excel at that part of the job :-)
May
4
comment How do you deal with an information hoarder?
+1 for some really positive suggestions.