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When Bored Developers Become Frustrated

Coders want to spend the majority of their time coding. It may sound like a rather obvious statement. Yet it remains the case that we struggle to balance the coding to release management ratio. Developers are comfortable performing other tasks besides, but the value needs to be clear.

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Identifying the signs of unhappy developers and acting on them promptly is the key to keeping the best people around

Are We Human, or Are We Developer?

When reading Managing Humans by Michael Lopp a few years ago, one chapter in particular struck a chord with me. Bored People Quit. In hindsight it was mainly because I myself was bored at work. I desperately needed a change.

Hunting the Apathy Grail

Identifying the signs early is important to prevent boredom transforming into anger. As managers we should always be on the lookout for changes in behaviour. We should always ask questions to assess their engagement with their daily work. Classic traits highlighted in this chapter include changes in schedule such as last minute vacation and changes to working hours.

Foster the Frustration

What are the key activities that cause boredom and frustration to fester? Lack of toys to tinker with is definitely the most common one I have experienced in my not so recent past. Software development is not just limited to spending endless days locked in a cupboard writing code. Talented developers are always happy to own development and release management tasks if the balance is right. Admin needs to be seen as a valuable and concise set of steps, rather than a wall between them and reaching coding nirvana.

Never too Late?

Boredom is frustrating, but being hounded when you don’t want to be saved is tedious. Scurrying around trying to convince someone to stay is not always the answer. You need to read the situation and determine what is your best course of action.

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Managers should test the waters before pulling out all the steps. Some want to skip off into the sunset to find their happy ever job ending.

Lead software engineer with a strong interest in Agile, UX and Usability. Lover of cooking, tea, photography and gin!

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