A Funny Java Flavoured Look at the World

Friday, June 02, 2006

Communication helps coding

Two months ago a developer left and then now he has found out he doesn't like it the new place and is now coming back. It's funny how even though you are doing basically the same job that working in one company can be so different to working in another company.

When working with the developer in a small team of 3 it was a very different working atmosphere. People were dished out their piece of work and then we never really spoke to each other until it was sort of finished or we were having a meeting every now and again. It was also made very clear to me that he was the "senior" developer and I wasn't. So he would often disappear to have meetings about architecture or design decisions.

It has a number of odd effects. I often had no idea what the hell he was doing and I also didn't have inkling how his code was designed or how it worked or often what it was meant to do until it was finished and released and then I saw it as a customer would see from a user end point of view.

Then he left and I decided that I didn't really like this way of working, it's if nothing else a bit bloody miserable. I thought I should take the opportunity to try and mould the working environment to be more informal, more enjoyable and to bring a more collaborate working environment.

When the developer (we shall call him developer X) left he gave what we call some Christmas lectures (they are some boring lectures shown on TV at Christmas in England) on parts of the code he had done and telling us how they worked etc.

I thought this was a brilliant idea, so now we have them after someone has done a substantial piece of work so the whole team knows how it works, why it works like that. This also has the benefit of looking at others people's code and learning new tips and tricks.

We also have meetings to discuss how we are going to design parts of the code or perhaps the best way to tackle problems. We also have a tea break at 11am and all have a 10 minute break.

I like the way we all work together now, we have got rid of the "Hero Programmer" and are now a team "X men" of mutant programmers.

The main benefit is that it's more fun talking and interacting with your fellow developers.

Other he is coming back now, I think we have moved in the right direction that he will have to join the group, only time will tell.

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