Skip to content

CWJ: Day -2

Dear Reader,

CodeWorks 09 Vital Stats

CodeWorks 09 day #: -2
Days till I see the Lovely and Talented Kathy:09
Cities left: 7
Miles Traveled: 0
Cups of Coffee: 0
Current Current City: Utrecht

Random Statistic of the day

Number of sessions I will actually deliver on the CodeWorks 09 tour: 27

Prep Work

Hey, it was Friday night. Of course I didn’t do any prep work. :) I did watch “Forgetting Sarah Marshall” though. It was a big old ball of Meh. Even Kristen Bell and Mila Kunis couldn’t save this one.

Random Thought:Firing Developers

I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about my career lately, especially as I write blog posts about managing developers. The one thing I absolutely hate to do is fire people. If you’ve never done it, it’s a horrible experience. The only thing worse is firing a developer that you hired to begin with. For me, this is the worst of the worst, an absolute low, career wise. One of the reasons I put so much effort into hiring the right developers is that I don’t want to have to go through the process of letting any of them go. It does happen though and I’ve had to do it on more than one occasion.

Once I’ve let the person go though, I start reviewing my hiring practices. I go over every practice with a fine-toothed comb. If I had to fire someone that I hired then I consider it my failing. Even though I advocate and practice “team hiring” as described in “Nerd Herding” if the process fails, it’s not the teams fault, it falls on my shoulders.

I question every step in the process. How can we avoid this mistake in the future? Did we miss any clues that could have prevented this? I run through the entire process from resume to offer letter trying to figure out if there was a way to be more careful. Regardless of their performance or lack thereof, that was a person, possibly the head of a family, that I just sent out the door with no income. That is a heavy weight on my shoulders and I hope it never gets any easier.

I have only met one person in my entire life that took firing employees lightly. He now has a reputation in Nashville and has to hire people from out of state. Sadly, he still fires them randomly leaving them without a job in a new city. Other than that, I know that all the managers I know or have talked to, take firing a developer with the same gravity as I. We still need to see if we can do better though.

I encourage every manager with firing responsibilities to take time after every you fire an employee to review the entire hiring process for that person and see if there is any way you can make the process better and avoid having to put your developer, your team and yourself through the process of firing someone.

php|arch podcast

If you like PHP and listen to podcasts, join us every other week on php|architect podcast for a 30-45 minute ramble through what is going on in the PHP world. Marco Tabini hosts a nutty gang of regulars along with the occasional special guest.

Until next time,
Pag-ibig ko sa inyo ang aking pinakahihiling Kathy

2 thoughts on “CWJ: Day -2

  1. I did like FSM…

    On firing, I will say that the only thing worse than firing a developer is not firing a developer. It is incredibly destructive to team morale to keep someone around who will not/cannot pull their own weight. And don’t just transfer them to another department! Just because they are not a good developer, does not make them a good tester or project manager. Making either of those departments a dumping ground for failed developers shows how much esteem a manager holds those departments in.

  2. @Jason!

    Hey bud!

    Yeah, I’ve made that mistake a couple of times and it’s a hard lesson to learn.

    One of the best bosses I ever had, Ray Taft, finally drive it home to me. He said “A sharp knife cuts clean”. I still screwed up and transferred a non-productive developer off of that team and into admin and I probably shouldn’t have. The funny thing is, the non-productive developer introduced me to one of the most productive developers we had on that team. So it wasn’t all bad. but that doesn’t excude me not cutting him lose earlier. You right, it drags the team down.

    Thanks for the comment!


Comments are closed.