Sunday, January 11, 2009

The Good, The Bad, and It's Gonna Get Ugly

(with apologies to Sergio Leone)

While browsing over the past few weeks, I've run across several articles discussing the relative skill levels of developers and the effects of having differing skill levels in your team.

Jay Fields expounds his opinion of Net Negative Producing Programmers (NNPPs), but his solution is to avoid working with them, which is not very practical for most of us who are not freelance programmers.

Over on It's Common Sense, Stupid, Jay's position is accepted, but his conclusion is not.  But the suggestions made are of a similar line - avoid NNPPs if you can, only the way companies work today, you can't make it any better.  But another post there addresses the reason companies don't fire NNPPs - they can't tell who they are.  Code quality is not visible - and the metrics managers try to use to measure it are easily subverted.

Of course the biggest problem about going to managers about NNPPs is that you might be seen as a cocky developer.

If you think you are the best developer in your group, and you feel that you are surrounded by NNPPs, you need to consider how you come across to your coworkers.  If they don't like you, your manager will probably not be able to tell that you are better, and will agree with their opinion.

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