The right way to manage diverse developer personalities


To employees and managers who work outside of the software development department, the software developers might seem a lot alike: smart, dedicated, and seemingly able to magically fix any problem that’s thrown at them. While successful software developers absolutely share all of these traits, keep in mind that they are still human beings with diverse personalities just like the employees within any other department. In fact, sometimes the range of diversity in developer personalities can actually make collaboration a difficult feat to achieve. But what are these different developer personalities? How do you identify them? And most importantly, how should you manage them all so the team will be able to work together seamlessly?

The Agile Anarchist

Agile has become common as a methodology for managing end-to-end software development. Many companies use agile to keep processes streamlined, but not everyone is quick to get on board. “Agile Anarchists” usually push back against this methodology. They feel that their work gets too atomized into iterations so much that it often strips them from their sense of accomplishment, creating disillusionment in their long-term vision of the overall product.

In order to overcome resistance, IT leadership must be able to dispel the Agile Anarchists’ belief that agile allows for laziness. Fight fire with fire, reinforcing the structure of the process at every step and rewarding those who adopt the principles quickly.

The Chronically Tardy

Some people are habitually late when it comes to delivering their portion of a project. Developer tardiness can have a major impact on release and delivery dates to clients. In today’s competitive environment, hitting deadlines can be make-or-break for the organization. Luckily, there are creative ways to keep these developer personalities on track rather than using traditional forms of discipline.

One simple solution for this common issue is similar to setting your watch a few minutes fast to trick yourself to be on time: consider posting deadlines a week early in lieu of the actual hard deadlines. In some cases, you may even finish some projects early, effectively turning the consistently tardy into time efficient developers who take initiative.

The Metric-Obsessed

As with every other type of employee in a team-based department, there too will be developers who are obsessed with metrics. They tend to get hung up on granular details and spend just as much time combing through data and spreadsheets as they do their development work. They stress out about deadlines and budgets and can often get in the way of new process implementation.

To ease their obsession, IT leaders should help managers understand the most critical success metrics and keep their attention focused on those numbers. Make priorities clear, and don’t waste time discussing unimportant data. It can even help to limit their access to unnecessary data if you can’t quite break them of their habit.

The Meeting Haters

Nearly everyone hates meetings, but some developers can be extremely vocal about their distaste which can impacts the productivity of the meeting. Others may skip meetings altogether, which could hinder future project progress.

In today’s development environment, many meetings are counterproductive despite what higher management may think. If teammates are constantly grumbling about too many meetings, it might be time to re-evaluate your meeting structure and focus on making them shorter, fewer in frequency, and more productive.

The Quiet Skeptics

Not all “haters” are vocal about their feelings. You may have someone on your team who tends to resist new ideas or processes but doesn’t speak up. Instead, they make their feelings known in passive-aggressive ways that could end up negatively impacting team members.

Managers can combat this skeptical reluctance and help grease the wheels of buy-in by creating team rewards that focus on group metrics rather than individual contribution. It can also be useful to sit down with the individual and have an open and honest conversation regarding their opinion toward the new ideas they are resisting.

If your Miami-area organization is looking for talented developers to help you move your business forward, contact the technology recruiting experts at CERS today.

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