“My Way Or The Highway”

One of the many difficulties that come with working on a team is having to deal with some people who are always like “its my way or the highway” or someone whose way of working is set in stone. There is no compromising with them. Someone asked me recently how to deal with a co-worker who is like “no its this way…” Well that usually works great if you live in the bronze age but not in the development world.

“My Way”

I think due to the ever changing development world, which always has some new tool or new hot thing every few months. I find it odd that some people will have a very set way of doing things. I am constantly evolving the way I manage projects. Changing what works, fixing what doesn’t and always taking into account what I could change to make myself more efficient and to make projects run more smoothly.

Overall I think if a project manager closes themselves off to new ideas or tools then they could hurt themselves in the long run. Blocking out new ideas can hurt your project management in the long run such as if you ignore a tool that someone suggests using. Besides, it is the project manager’s job to create a smooth development process and using what worked a few years ago may not work on a newer product in today’s world.

I have also worked with developers who always say we are going to build using these tools and nothing else. Even presented with newer and quicker methods of getting things done. I have actually seen in some cases how some project managers have been let go, or moved away if the project is falling behind due to differences in ways the project is being run. I have talked to quite a number of developers that work for various companies around Austin and from multiple people that have told me that another project manager will be brought in to make it more efficient if they can make everything easier and manage to come under budget and with plenty of time to spare.

“Its not in my job description”

As for one thing I have also run into developers who won’t do anything if it isn’t a part of their job requirements. Such as for example I was told about a developer that worked only in angular, but they were asked to take a look at a bug that was happening in react and asked if they had any ideas what was causing it. Developer tells the company to talk to their project manager because thats not in their job description. Just a simple look over code…doesn’t seem outlandish but some developers will not stray from their set requirements. Why are they like this? I actually don’t know. I have been asked to look at web apps built in ASP.NET. Do I know ASP.NET? Well truth be told I am beyond rusty. But I decided to take a look to possibly help some developers out.

I think some developers are like this because they are afraid that their job could mold into something else. Maybe a past experience where a company made them do 100 other tasks without an improvement in pay has lead them to not stray from their job description.

Now how should someone handle this? Personally when it comes to being asked about something outside of my job description I will be happy to offer advice or small assistance. But if I am constantly becoming involved with other projects or being tooled to do things constantly outside my job description I will definitely bring it up with those in charge.

Now if you are working with someone like that, I think there needs to be a middle ground, talking it out and asking why they won’t be of any assistance. And if they are very set in their ways I have seen companies let those kinds of people go. Those who literally build a wall between them and anything else. I have heard so many stories of companies letting go expert developers because they weren’t part of the team or willing to help outside of their field.

In Closing

When it comes to job descriptions and having to work with someone who has a set way of doing things. I don’t think we as developers can have a set in stone method due to the constant ever changing technology. Like we use to have to only work with HTML and css…then came javascript, then came javascript frameworks. Imagine if developers stopped at only HTML CSS, we wouldn’t have a expanded internet and technology. So evolving is something we do every few months. I always tell my students, “be ready to develop something outside your comfort zone and to push yourself to learn more.”

Elijah Macleod