Wherever the wind takes you

If you want a strong team of developers, give them autonomy. But what if they don’t want to take it? The ones in, or from, the big corporations who just won’t take the initiative? The ones who just want to be told what to do?

I’ve said before that those are the waterfall people. The cogs in the machine.

Have you been a developer who didn’t want to take responsibility for yourself or your work? Who doesn’t have pride in your work, and just wants the money? Do you want the opposite of autonomy?

It might not be your fault. If you live in a blame culture, you want to leave as small a footprint as possible. Head down, do as you’re told. Don’t attempt that risky refactoring or upgrade. After all, if you do it, and it breaks, it’s your bonus that gets lost, and your neck on the line for big failures. If you don’t touch it, and it breaks, maybe the previous touchee will get passed the grenade, or maybe it will just get blamed on a faceless, incomplete “process”.

Maybe your manager doesn’t want you making decisions. You’re not important enough. You don’t have the power to make them. Developer ideas don’t matter, listen to the manager, or the architect.

Or maybe you want to be motivated, to get autonomy and change things.

Show your boss this. Or get a new job.


3 replies on “Naughtonomy”

As usual a great post….and I generally agree. But as a consultant I have found one specific area where the suggestions above are impractical.

Over the years I have worked with very bright and motivated people who just happen to also be here in the USA on an H1B visa. Since the loss of the current job can immediately become leave the country, their motivations (indeed survival instincts) need to be different. This is not in anyway a criticism of the people, but it is an important observation).

There are ways to deal with this, but they are never easy, and not always practical….Sometime “heads down” is the only option a person really has.

Liked by 1 person

As I say, it’s not always the fault of the individual. Autonomy has to be given as much as it is taken. I can understand partially why their managers would be stricter, and also completely understand, under those conditions, why someone wouldn’t want to exercise more freedom.


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