DEV Community

Andreas Steffan
Andreas Steffan

Posted on

Masons on the roof

I am seeing the situation that developers get assigned with tasks they are absolutely not qualified to do. Appears to happen more and more frequently. I guess this has to do with the fact that management does not understand that complexity in tech grows fast, thinks devs are all the same and thinking goes like:

You built the mobile app, right? Please set up a Kubernetes cluster on prem tomorrow.

What I have seen is that devs generally don't refuse those tasks (imposter?) even though they likely feel uncomfortable with it and quality suffers.

So far, I am calling this symptom "Masons on the roof" - because quality won't match the work of a slater.

Is there a better known name for this symptom? Any suggested references?


Top comments (2)

dabrorius profile image
Filip Defar • Edited

Being a software engineer is significantly different from being a mason or a slater. You do not learn programming and then repeat what you have learned for the rest of your career. You are always solving a problem that you do not know how to solve, that's the nature of the job.

Now with that said, management can still seem unreasonable, in most of the cases, as you said, it's because they do not understand the complexity of the task they are giving you. In that case, your job is to explain them why it's complex and what resources you will require to get it done. It's also a good idea to, if possible, offer them an alternative solution that would be simpler and faster to implement and would achieve same or similar results (for example, the chance of you not really needing a Kubernetes cluster is quite high).

deas profile image
Andreas Steffan

Thanks for your reply.

I agree there is a difference with regards to learning, but I'd argue there is a fair share of people in management and even devs which have not figured this out yet. At the end of the day, I guess it boils down to culture and the people gathering around it. I'd say what you suggest is how things should be.

I work freelance and I have built have a jvm based archive. The customer (which itself is in software dev business building most things in .NET and has a few hundert employees) said to take over development once the thing is done and expected that to happen quickly. I formally handed things over (even documented!) over a year ago. Customers devs don't even seem to look at it. Unfortunately, this thing is in production and some features cannot easily be replaced in a few days. Appears now they are slowly realizing their situation and things may be slightly more complex than expected.

Similar story at different scale seems to be happening with the same customer. App Devs and Ops seem to know very little about infrastructure development and DevOps. And indeed they also got assigned with the mission to set up Kubernetes clusters. They appear to understand very little, do a lot imperatively and manually and also appear pretty much stuck with a dozen early stage clusters already.