Monday, December 22, 2008

Wanted: Software Development Leader

One thing led to another and there I was contemplating the job req for what I would look for in (and what I strive to be as) a software development leader.

- Development experience - preferably within the last decade

- Can tell a crappy architecture from a sound architecture
- Can tell a crappy implementation from a sound implementation
- Can tell the difference between someone who is busy and someone who is productive
- Can discern the difference between a good candidate for a position "on paper" and a good candidate for real
- Demonstrates a deep understanding of what quality means for a software product (including non-functional requirements like performance, supportability, and extensibility)
- Can tell when an architect, developer, QA, BA, or business partner is blowing smoke up his hind quarters
- Can speak the dialect of business - ROI, NPV, customer acquisition cost
- Can relate to business stakeholders and build collaborative relationships
- Can connect to team members on a personal level
- Has a good sense of humor
- Understands the difference between a prototype and a production application

- Will call out a crappy architecture and drive change
- Will call out a crappy implementation and drive change
- Will call out the busy-bees and the smoke-blowers
- Will demand demonstrable quality (including non-functional requirements)
- Will demand reasonable tests (unit tests, component tests, system tests)
- Does not suffer fools gladly
- Will not sit through a PowerPoint that depicts supposed progress without demanding demonstration of said progress
- Will not abide bubble gum and duct tape solutions to production (or development) defects
- Demands continuous improvement
- Demands root cause analysis (5 why's)
- Demands customer involvement in product development
- Continuously seeks to improve efficiency by asking "why" and "how can we do this more efficiently" (e.g. - PMO requirements for excessive documentation)
- Is willing to fight for the resources required by the team to deliver
- Cares deeply about the team
- Cares about the career development of team members
- Cares deeply about product quality
- Will celebrate true success with the team (no gratuitous applause please)
- Will always give credit to the team for success
- Will remove team members when necessary
- Has a coaching mentality
- Is willing to get hands dirty (writing code, writing/running/debugging tests, fetching pizza)
- Is always available to the team
- Exhibits patience, when appropriate
- Exhibits impatience, when appropriate

- Tells the truth - for instance about project status
- Is clear to team members on expectations and performance on a regular basis (not just at review time)
- Is willing to stand up and fight for the team

Ah... it's late. that's as far as I got. I felt like the integrity section was short, but many of the integrity issues bled into attitude. What did I miss? What do you disagree with?

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