Hi, I'm Jayme. I help software developers work at a sustainable pace so they can be calm and adapt gracefully when things change.
The software industry is a gadget geek's dream come true with new frameworks and ways to work together coming out every day. I spent the first half of my career thinking: "If I understand the latest process or tool well enough, I'll convince people to use it by explaining how it works - that'll solve my problems!"
The reality is that people don't care about how technology or software development processes work. They care about what's in it for them. Without the ability to figure out what people want, and align your goals with theirs - you'll stay stuck working in a toxic culture.
But no one enters the industry with basic consulting skills! Most software development training programs focus solely on the programming languages, tools, and development process you'll use. And then politely release you back to your job with a cute T-Shirt, alone to figure out how to get people on board. Good luck.
In a company full of people who look to technology for solutions that "fix" working with difficult people - the loudest person usually wins. And we've all know how that goes...
In the first 10 years of my career I blamed everyone else. If *they* could just understand, I'd be able to do what I know we need to. If *they* cared more about our staff, we'd be treated with more respect. But *I* just wanted to write code. And automate infrastructure. And design products. So that's all I did.
TOO OFTEN WE LOOK TO LEADERSHIP: We see our colleague with the "Lead" or "Director" title, or even the founder as our example of how we should be. If I'm just like her, I'll get the chance to turn things around. If I'm just like him, they'll listen to me once I deliver this next release.
The truth is our industry is full of managers and leaders who have NO BUSINESS LEADING. They are sometimes the absolute WORST example of who to follow, and how to act. Besides, if they were doing a good job leading, wouldn't everyone be happier - with a more fulfilling business model and shared wins all around?
From darling startups with the hottest tech raking in millions of dollars a month, to established household brands you see ads for on your TV - no one is immune to software development work environments that can become a realm of nightmares with just ONE key person in the wrong place, at the wrong time. They start by bringing me in for technology help - but soon find out that isn't all they need...
We've all seen someone behave irrationally due to fear. The Product Manager isn't sure if the latest feature is what the customer wants. The Lead Engineer doesn't know if he covered all of the test cases so the code doesn't blow up in production. The folks responsible for production don't know whether the predictions for how the infrastructure will stand up to load are accurate. Even DevOps can't catch everything.
And so people blame each other for their mistakes. They shame each other for their choices. They don't dare be thought of as anyone but the smartest person in the room. They think confidence > conduct. Not to mention that they bring the struggles of their personal life into work with them...
Making mistakes is inevitable - not only should you assume it will happen, you'd do well to learn to handle the mistakes others make with grace; if you want the support for trying your own ideas.
But most teams jab at each other lightly, acting like everyone is soooo comfortable, "isn't this cool how REAL people are"? Until the SH*T hits the fan...
None of us like to think we treat people poorly. I was a class A jerk for the first 10 years of my career, and I spent thousands of dollars and over 5 years coming up with better ways to work with people before I became effective. But it doesn't take complete mastery of relationships to make things happen.
I could have saved myself a lot of money and time if someone would have shown me the biggest relational problems on software teams. Just a few simple changes YOU can make will catch on like wildfire and grow your circle of influence! For example:
Stop throwing work over the wall. Take responsibility for the entire team's work - even if you had nothing to do with it. The product matters - not just your "team".
Calm down. If you can't control your emotions, you may throw your weight around for a while, but when you fall - it will be HARD. I've learned many simple strategies for reducing anxiety.
Accept ideas from anyone. Title and seniority means nothing. New hires can be the best innovators. Give credit where it's due. Don't look to leaders to always recognize others' hard work.
In the past 10 years of my career, consulting for clients out of where I live in Austin, Texas and across the country; I've seen the good, the bad, and the ugly. And over time I've learned what works for everyone, and where a "one-size-fits-all" solution isn't realistic.
I could continue to make a lot of money replaying what I know works with more companies that get into trouble, but I'm tired of seeing software companies fall apart because people continue chasing technologies and processes as the answer. It's time we banded together to raise the bar of working together in this industry.
When I thought about how to pass on what I know to others, I knew I would need to create some learning material. You can't have the same conversation over and over with new people and reach enough software developers to really make a difference.
But consulting is a tricky skill to practice, because at first you need to understand the unique situation of a company. The cultural values, the history, the technology choices - and the people.
No one knows your company better than you do, so even though you must learn my techniques, I can save you serious time getting results with personal access to me as you go about changing the way people work.
To learn more about Phoenix Tamers, the social mentoring community for Sustainable Software Development, click the button below to watch a free video. I'll share with you exactly how this program will connect you with others who are changing the industry, and give you a new set of skills that will make this the best year of your career!
As this is a new program, I'm offering it to new members at an introductory price every single software developer can afford!
Enter your email address below to learn more about Phoenix Tamers, the social mentoring community for Sustainable Software Development.
After a 20 year career of working at product companies and as a consultant for over 30 organizations, Jayme is leading the industry to adopt sustainable practices for software development.
Jayme lives in Austin, Texas and writes songs, plays several musical instruments, and enjoys cycling with his family and three children.