Developers like to argue. It can be said it’s what they’ve been put onto earth to do. They give reasons for doing things a certain way:
- This is more efficient
- This is more elegant
- This is more supportable
- This is the industry standard
- This is the way I want to do it because I’m researching this technology (usually this one is kept a secret)
Developers are great at doing two things:
- Quickly understanding situations and technologies
- Implementing solutions to fix situations using technologies
Keep a developer topped up with new and unusual situations to fix and new (and usually more oblique) technologies and they will be happy.
Most developers are happier working on new things than they are on old things. New things are a challenge. Old things are something that they already fixed.
But get this – most of the things you want them to do are not interesting, new challenges. They are boring old challenges which anyone can fix. It’s just that you need them in order to get your business insights, your reporting, your data right.
Data problems are not always interesting.
However, a challenge is always a good thing for a developer right? So how can you make your simple data problems look like a challenge worthy of your best developer?
- Give them the problem
- Frame it in a way that they have choice in the solution they adopt
- Start listening
Don’t box them in – let them have a say. They might surprise you.