Monday, March 13, 2017

"I would love some under informed opinions about things you don't understand" - Dilbert.

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Again, I haven't written in a while. The reason is part laziness and part not having a topic worth writing about.

Some recent policy changes at the office have put an idea for a rant in my head. It's something I've been stewing about and I guess until I vent or rant it won't leave my poor brain alone. I don't like being upset about things for a long time, as it affects my generally happy demeanor and digestive system.


This Dilbert is not aimed at anybody really. I know folks who are leaders in the best meaning of this word and I do not belittle their accomplishments as leaders in any way. Maybe this image will make more sense.


Again, a little extreme, but you should guess the gist of what I am trying to say.

There is this strange notion in the world, it's several years old, that engineers need to collaborate. A notion that they need to be close to each other or talk to each other and stay in the same room. A notion that they need watch over each other's shoulders until a "kumbaya" descends from the heaven and brings the project to an end before the deadline and below the budget.

I can only speak to my own profession and experience as a software engineer, commonly known as "the programmer", of course, but nothing can be farther from the truth. I think this somehow came to live as art influencing real life. Try to remember all the movies and commercials where happy, young hipster looking designers and hackers sit in the stylish lofts and open offices with sunlight streaming through the windows apple computer on every desk and an air of camaraderie is what it is "all about". Everything will go only right in an environment like that, right?! Because those images make us happy and productive and "reasons". Now try to imagine a huge factory like room where only fluorescent light bulbs provides real light and rows upon rows of aluminum cubicles separate human beings and only occasional balding head can be seen along the sea of inspirational wall posters. Yeah, nothing good can come out of this boring place.

Hence, the eternal quest of the management to create happy collaborative environments, where productivity should increase just because of environment.  But this is where problem lies, the common misconception about the nature of work and people who work it. There is a reason people to choose to be software engineers.


I have posted this image before. I will say this, not all of us a social outcasts, or lack social graces, or even introverts. I will even say that we are as diverse group as any, but for some reason we prefer a company of a computer screen for our work more than the company of other human beings. It may have to do with fact that everyday we create snippets of software, or describing it been a little differently - small, encapsulated, semi-autonomous little worlds. Going a little further with the crazy, we create and destroy those worlds at will, literally giving us the power over energy and sometimes over matter at our fingertips. Here comes the big rub, given all of that why would anybody in their right mind give up or share that power by collaborating? At most we would be willing to discuss and agree how we can connect our worlds together, without giving up too much control over our domains. The man must remain the master of domain. Otherwise we prefer to be left alone to allow us to create our little fiefdoms.

To end this silliness, if you are in management stop inventing new ways to interfere and torture poor engineers. We do not want to discuss and share our methods of world domination, or collaborate how to accomplish it better.

We know how to do our job, and we are perfectly aware that there many way to skin the proverbial cat. We are also aware that most of those ways are equally lethal to the poor animal and do not require collaboration or discussions or extra meetings or *gasp* agile or waterfall methodologies. In the end the cat is going to be dead and whoever was the sick bastard that wanted the skin will get it.