I work at an awesome company, for an awesome boss, doing awesome things and it’s just awesome! Did I mention how awesome I am? Hi, I’m Cliff. You’re here because you probably think you’re awesome like me. Don’t worry, awesomeness fades and ugly lasts forever. (For the record, I’m really not as arrogant as this paragraph reads, I just like to pretend once and a while. If you don’t come here regularly you probably wouldn’t know that. Just like you probably wouldn’t know that I like to write in parenthesis and dream about XML.)
I’m an avid fan of Joel Spolsky and always read when he puts up something about how management should treat developers. I never thought I’d actually work for a company that understood his ideas. While it’s always been great working here something happened today that totally took me by surprise. Lemme set the scene.
So I got this new director I report to. Meanwhile my company is going through this dramatic split. There’s restructuring/realignment happening all around with an announcement practically every week regarding our new vision, team alignment, roles responsibilities, whatever. You know how it is when new management arrives and you start feeling fish out of water shocked because you’re now on a team or doing a job completely different? Or maybe you were in responsible for a certain area and the work has been delegated to another side of the globe? Naturally all fingers point to the new management and no matter what goes wrong it’s because, “well we got this new boss and we’re not supposed to do thing X anymore so that’s why everything is so jacked up!” That’s how things have been lately, and while I pride myself on always giving people the benefit of the doubt I couldn’t help feeling a little apprehensive about all the new chiefs springing up across the org chart.
There’s one guy in particular that really stands out. The guy I report to. You see he works from a different office in a different time zone. (That helps contribute to mis-communication and frustration.) I haven’t worked with him too long and we had a healthy discussion on one of my favorite topics that revealed disagreement. Being the terrible judge of character that I am (this is no exaggeration I always peg my friends as enemies and befriend those who do me wrong) I assumed that he wasn’t on the same page as me early on. Over the past month or so that he’s been in charge he’s been doing things… different things… really cool things. Things that I would have loved to see done from when I started working here. This guy has been pushing for the very thing I always cry over without my knowing it. It wasn’t until one really generous gesture that it all clicked. He bought me lunch.
Now I’m not a fat boy. I don’t normally get over excited about a meal. There’s something about how he went about it that rings BOSS POWER MOVE. I get an email about a week or two ago. He’s asking what are my favorite spots to eat near the office. I naturally think he’s making a trip out to my office since he was just in one of our other satellite offices. I run down a list of about 5-10 spots thinking he’d be here about a week and want to eat at least twice. Then I don’t hear anything about it for a week. He attends our daily status meetings and I never remember to ask him when he’s going to show. Today over AIM he asks if I got the lunch. I’m like, “Yeah I ate” (all with the ghetto talk to an executive… unprofessional but that’s how I do it). He then explains that he sent me a gift card since we always hold meetings over my lunch hour. How awesome is that?
It got me thinking. He bought a copy of Code Complete 2 for our entire team and organized a daily reading session. He mandated code review policies. He got us started working across all over our mobile projects in an effort to get some consistency in the source code. All along he’s been doing these things and it’s been making a difference. I’ve also been in one on one meetings with him and I get a strong sense that he can smell BS from a mile away. I could go on but it’d probably start getting weird. It’s just nice when you work for a professional.