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There's more than code

Harry Lucas
May 15th, 2020 · 2 min read

Let me paint you a picture.

Imagine Bob. Friendly guy, knows his stuff. Knows how to get things done.

Lone wolf type. Headphones on. Slack = Do not disturb.

Moves tickets from to do -> in progress -> review before you’ve even finished you’re coffee.

You give him a feature and you know it’s going to get done. And done well. Pull requests are a bit big and his Git hub profile is showing a strong gravitation towards the commit axis, but hey, it’s all worth it in the end.

Dream developer right?

  • ✅ Finishes features on time
  • ✅ Focuses throughout the day
  • ✅ Quality code

Thats a lie

Whilst Bob seems to be doing some solid, A+ “pat on the back” work, he needs to realise there is more to being a good developer than just pumping out features.

Developers work in teams. Teams move together.

For every 700+ line PR he pumps out, he’s just taken an hour out of a team mates day.

Every PR he doesn’t review, has just fallen onto the lap of another team member. Now they can’t focus on their features.

Whilst the team is discussing an important architectural change, Bob’s got his headphones on.

Worst of all, is the opportunity cost that’s lost with the way Bob works. By himself he can contribute 2x as any other team member. That’s fantastic.

But what if Bob spent time helping and leveling up is other team members. Helping them fill in gaps in their knowledge. Showing them better patterns, abstractions. Setting up tools to help them work faster, leaving insightful feedback on their PRs.

What if Bob focused part of his time and effort on helping his whole team become more effective? Suddenly you’ve got a force multiplier who may themselves be delivering slightly less but also a team delivering exponentially more.

This is always better.

Take aways

Think of your team like a rowboat. When someone stops rowing (PR reviews, stuck without help etc.) the boat slows and goes in circles.

  1. Understand that there is more than just number of lines your write. Being apart of a team means exactly that, being apart of a team.
  2. Smaller PRs are exponentially faster to review than larger once. Reduce the burden on your team.
  3. Review your team members PRs as soon as soon as you get a chance. Get them rowing again.
  4. Become a force multipler for your team. One person being 3x is less effective than 2 x 2x person.

This article is a reminder to sense check yourself, are you being a team player? Or a solo fiddle?

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