The greatest challenge as a developer


30 June 2022

Nowadays in this wildly growing area of software development, programmers are facing more and more issues to overcome during their everyday work. We could talk about how challenging it is to translate all the heavy information fulfilled and logic based tech speeches to a more comprehensible human language, to let our project managers, clients, and sales guys understand it. We could talk about the average others’ opinion according to which we can, and we need to do every task for others that has a little bit of a connection to technologies. Or as a modern day developer you always crave for the new fancy and shiny stack that ‘can be the real TECH_STACK_NAME killer’, so we could talk about the never ending learning ability you need, but these are not the ones we are going to focus on for now.

One of the greatest challenge as a developer is to know when he or she is good enough. I’m pretty sure every fellow developer can connect to this question, and currently flashing back memories when you accidentally didn’t know if something is good enough yet or not. And let’s not misunderstand the topic. I’m not only talking about the right end of the scale where developers are never satisfied with their own software and always know the next step to improve while not knowing when it will be enough. I’m also talking about the left end of the scale when you want to put as little effort into something as possible, because it’s only gonna be used for a really little group of people, or just yourself, or the budget and development time is so strict or you just have a hangover. There can be multiple reasons why someone wants to simplify a development. From this angle, these two represent the same problem. The developer or the team is not sure about when it is good enough.

Let’s pick one of these situations starting with the one that some programmers may call a ‘bad project’ when they always hear the same reasons from the management, for why they don’t do it in the ‘right way’. That conflict is pretty understandable from each side. So why do project managers keep saying that we don’t have time for some complex solution? There can be many reasons, first of all maybe the most common is the MVP approach. In this case the client only wants the simplest solution (not meaning cheapest, but cheapest with you, and that’s a huge difference) for their idea, to see how it goes on the market, how big the interest is, how people will react to it and so on. So they know exactly how to implement all the great functionality and innovative systems in the future. The communication is getting messier when project managers are explaining this to developers, and not counting with the fact what the development team can hear from it. Which is like ‘We don’t care about your professional opinion, we care about money and you are not gonna waste it for something that we don’t even understand.’ While when developers are explaining complex tech solutions to a non-tech manager, they might want to go with that to avoid future scalability issues, or they are planning for future features, or they’ve been stuck with one solution before and they don’t want to fail with that again, and so on. In this case project managers may only hear that ‘we need to do so much more work because I think so, and i’m not sure if it’s needed but if you don’t let me, I will think your project is crap’.

And I think this little hidden point of communication is where we need to fix this issue. Instead of pulling the rope from each side and gaining suffocated feelings, imagine ourselves into the position of the other, and try to explain our thoughts as clearly as possible. The most important thing is to do it without any, and I say without any, judgment, assumption, insult. With that we can create a win-win situation from a story where everyone started as a loser.

Bálint Varga, Head of Technology

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