From this Week's Meme Monday
Now, like all comments in the thread, this is a shitpost — so I don't want to get too serious, but it's interesting food for thought.
The difference between the tornado and a bug is that the tornado is something you literally can't do anything about — so if you live in an area that gets enough tornadoes, you might as well just mow your lawn as long as the tornado isn't moments from crushing your house.
However, in software, you can "fix" the tornado. That's why you probably shouldn't be mowing the lawn. You have agency over the bigger issue — or do you?
This is one of the biggest problems in team software development (i.e., 99% of important software development). It's not always clear that you do have agency to fix the bug — and if you do have agency, it's not always clear that you have the responsibility.
So great, let's create systems to make sure that people know that they can and should fix the bug.
However, if we define "responsibility" the wrong way, it is either too many people's responsibility or too few. Too many, and everyone might look at each other thinking someone else will fix it. Too few, and now you've mostly disallowed agency. The select few people who can deal with it will.
Identifying this issue and finding balance is key.
If communication around "can" and "should" are worked out, then empowerment might still be a problem. I think empowerment is mostly about knowledge and wisdom transfer, through documentation, management, pairing, meetings, or anything in-between.
- Getting all of this right is more of an ongoing practice than a one-time solution.
- While it may be "leadership's" job to ultimately get some of this right, it can be your job to help ask the questions to get everyone on the right track here. Mostly, if people aren't in the right place, it's because they're busy. There's often a chance to raise a hand and see how you can help.
- Getting this right everywhere can be daunting. Start small.