The Angry Helper

The Angry Helper is the person who begrudgingly agrees to help you.

They bemoan the process the whole time, bitter in the fact that they have to take time out of their day to help you figure out this “simple” problem that only they can understand.

What you say and do is never enough to help, it was done wrong the first time and it will be done wrong the second and third and fourth time.

And then they leave, sure whatever it was might now work, but you can see the wake behind them as they walk away, onto the next team member to offer their assistance to, begrudgingly, complaining the entire time.

Want to be a great team member?

Help your team grow by accepting that everyone needs help and assistance at some time or another.

Realize you are not Lord of the Code.

And when someone asks for help on your worst possible day?

If you can’t help in a complimentary, sincere, helpful way… send them to someone that will.

Trusting Code More than People

Do you trust the code or your people?

When you trust the code

  • you hope it doesn’t break when you ship.
  • you know when it breaks, the customer logs a support case and you ask for logs.
  • it ships when someone pushes it out the door.

When you trust the people

  • you know if it does break, your team will be there to fix it.
  • when the customer has an issue, the team will ask how they are using it and what the customer is trying to do before looking at the code
  • the team ships the product when it’s ready to go.

Trusting Code is good, trusting people is better.

End with with a Period.

Not an exclamation point, not a question mark, not an ellipsis… a simple period.

We’ve exchanged ideas and statements for impact when they used to be about everything before the punctuation.

Want to impress your Team Lead with how to fix that Nuclear customer’s problem?

Send your answer and end it with a period. When you end it with a period, it’s a signal that it will be resolved, it will be fixed, you will get it done and the customer will be happy.

It’s not a hopeful question mark or an exasperated exclamation – it’s what you said it was going to be, nothing more.

Going into a Cave

How many times have you heard a developer say this?

This problem is really complex, I’m going into a cave for the next few days to work on it.

So they go away for a few days and when they come out – BOOM – problem solved, new features built, product ideas are pouring out the ceiling.

Two days in a Cave – no distractions, minimal interruptions, no communications – yielded – progress, delivery, initiative.

We can’t always work out of our cave (wherever that is) but it’s refreshing to know that we all have that place where we yield the most incredible work possible.

If you haven’t found yours, find it, don’t flaunt it (no social media) and kick it into Overdrive.

PS – It’s not solely for code problems either.

Leaving Uncompilable code before leaving

I can’t leave code that won’t build at my desk overnight.

Perhaps it’s because I won’t remember what is wrong with it in the morning.

Perhaps it’s a worry that my machine will reboot overnight and it will then be even more of a mess.

Maybe it’s wanting to have that last sense of “Build Succeeded” to scroll past my screen so I always that small measure of daily accomplishment.

Whatever it is, the same holds true for your customers.

Don’t leave them dangling on that last minute support issue.

Don’t give them wishy/washy information.

Don’t push out that status call one more day.

Change “Build Succeeded” to “Customer Succeeded” and get those same feelings.