We Ain’t Got Time for That

There exists a trait common to most developers and development groups that causes lots of delays and costly mistakes. That trait is when you believe you can figure it out if you have more time.

Junior developers get stuck on problems that a more senior person can solve instantly, but instead of asking for help promptly, they’ll spend days working on the problem. This might look like three days of no progress instead of getting help within the first five minutes. Anyone who works with junior developers has seen this and coached those junior developers to reach out sooner for help.

Sadly, this trait doesn’t end with junior developers and gets more expensive the higher up it goes. Senior developers will do this too. Though they have more techniques to find answers, the problems that baffle them are much more intricate and obscure. They might get stuck trying to figure out something about security or how to model data or optimize a database. These decisions have a higher risk associated with them as their impacts are a lot larger.

The decisions architects make have an even higher risk. Architects might spend weeks researching new technologies or ways to solve business problems or understanding compliance and laws. You can imagine what goes wrong when you have a developer deciding how the law applies or doesn’t apply to them. The risk here is often millions of dollars.

The answer is often the same, get help from other experts. Swallow you’re pride and get help. The more senior people get, the harder this becomes, but at the end of the day, there isn’t a prize for doing things alone, and when things go wrong, you have the best advice as opposed to your single mistake.