Over my career I've seen many software projects fail spectacularly due to political infighting between team members.
I prefer a simple definition of politics:
When people tell each other what they want to hear instead of the truth.
I'd like to share the story of a software project I worked on, where the client was a non-profit company with a big budget.
They wanted to redesign a major application used to help struggling educational institutions.
But the staff were inexperienced with agile.
And multiple contractors on the project were fighting.
In this video, I share what can happen when software development processes get people fired!
Especially when there's politics...
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Top comments (13)
So your team estimated stories with no acceptance criteria? Teams hould kick those back to the product owner and explain why. Also, finger pointing and the blame game is a key management tactic at the big four. Lastly, personalities change when things get stressful - as a consultant, know the politics so that you can work collaboratively.
Thanks for your feedback. You're totally right and some of the other videos on my channel are about trying to take more personal responsibility.
You are right. The project manager or the management is a major factor determining whether politicdls exist or not in a team. I think as long as managers work like a senior memeber of the team who knows what's going on rather than in a supervisory role looking down from above, politics is unlikely to emerge.
Definitely, the boss -> subordinate dynamic tends to bring out the worst in people who can’t wield power responsibly.
Your podcasts are really interesting. Thanks for that.
I guess that you have something to share on this topic:
"What should I do when the CTO is a very bad software developer and always submits bad code but loves to code?"
Do you have any thoughts, or is that topic any good for an another video?
I'd be weighing a bunch of things in a situation like that, and I've been on a consulting engagement where there were similar dynamics.
But a few primary ones for me would be:
A) If the CTO is open to being coached, am I willing to go through the trouble of building a relationship with them so I can help them be a better developer?
B) If the CTO isn't open to being coached, can I do my job without being bitter if they are making things harder for me that I can't influence?
I'm sure you'll make the right decision for your unique path. That's tough.
Thanks Jayme! Yeah, I hope that I will.
One other observation. I only have bits and pieces of clues from your description (affluent office, self-important/absent director, etc.) but it seems possible that the company turned inward. The company experiences some success and then transitions from a philosophy of service to looking out for themselves. It typically starts from the leadership and infects its way down. Now there is nothing wrong with taking great care of employees with standing desks and a nice office, but the vision still has to stay focused on service to your market. When the company loses that vision, the market becomes another tool to leverage toward the personal ends of employees instead of the primary mission area. And the org starts rotting from the inside. This can cause any kind of organization (profit/nonprofit/government/church/etc) to fall apart in various ways if not corrected.
I love this. You’re absolutely right. Success can cause us (myself included) to behave so poorly if we’re not careful!
This is really useful and interesting Jayme. Most of your stories tell what has gone bad, or terrible, during development.
Since you're a healthy software developer, do you have any stories to tell where things went butter smooth and what were the keys to success? Would be really interesting.
Never goes buttery smooth. That’s what being a Healthy Software Developer (at least how I’m presenting it) is:
Accepting limitations of your project, standing up for yourself, having a healthy work/life balance, and not being ignorant of the current propaganda around agile coaching.
It’s really more about thriving the best you can in a messy environment!
P.S. I try to do teaching videos Tuesday and Project stories Friday.
The teaching videos share things I’ve found to work - but as evidenced by the project stories they never eliminate the unpredictability of the human factor!
Thanks for the feedback. Yeah I’m hoping that’s one thing people get out of these videos - that these problems are common.