Saturday, May 14, 2016

Whom do I serve?

Someone I respect said in a private group discussion:
“And we serve the business stakeholders, not the programmers."
It left me thinking of whom do I serve? I too serve the business stakeholders. I collect and prioritize information to drive change from business stakeholders perspective. I drive the change through programmers, but I don't really serve the programmers. We both serve the business stakeholders. Together. With different skill sets for more complete service delivery.

There's a thought experiment that Llewellyn Falco walks me through regularly:

  • What is the value of a tester if you have no programmers? 
  • What is the value of a tester if you have the perfect programmers? 
  • What is the value of a tester if the programmer never reacts to any of the feedback? 
Let's look at this from another angle:
  • What is the value of a programmer who writes programs that no one wants?
  • What is the value of a programmer who writes programs that don't work?
  • What is the value of a programmer who writes programs that cannot be fixed or extended?
The programmer value is less without feedback. It's not one serving the other, it's us being better together in serving the business stakeholders. 

At work we had a team day with business stakeholders today. It was great to hear how they praised the product we've created for them (one we still regularly bash for not being perfect). I felt the praise was equally for all of us. The devs wouldn't be where we are without me. I wouldn't be where we are without them. It's a symbiosis. 


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