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Posted on: Saturday, 11 September 2010 by Rajiv Popat

What is your role in your organization?

What are you responsible for?

I know you are confused about your existence in your organization.

I know your designation means nothing.

But if you are a kickass programmer these are probably not the things that bother you as much as random stupid unpredictability in your work life.

Lets jump into the depths of time and bring from the ages that have rolled behind, the gist of what pissed off the best of the programmers at Multiplitaxion Inc. It was movement. Unpredictable, completely irrational and sometimes hugely irritating movement.

As a programmer you spent months working on a project. Putting in sweat and blood on the project and getting attached to it, only to be told one fine morning that you are now going to have an idiotic moron leading the project and you are expected to report to him.

Then there were historic moments where some of the most kickass programmers walked into office only to find out that they were expected to move to a different project all together and start their knowledge transfer effective the very same day.

As programmers we spend multiple hours a day talking to the compiler, where we expect the same consistent, coherent results for the same code written over and over again. We look for systems even when we are connecting to other human beings. The best of your geeks are afraid of unpredictability specially the kind that has 'stupidity' written all over it.

As a manager it is your responsibility that you reduce the element of unpredictability that gets thrown in your team's way to a minimum and if there is unpredictability it is positive unpredictability that challenges them and helps them grow stronger neurons. If you cannot do that the least you can do is be open about the changes in your organization and have no secrets. Transmit information openly.

If you must move them to a different project, do you have a genuine cause for doing that? Are you explaining your thoughts and your rational to them before you move them or are you basically passing orders from the ivory towers of management?

It takes years of solid teamwork, multiple streaks of good luck and a lot of stars have to align before you become a part of a project that is awesome, that rocks and that has the potential of making a dent in the universe of a small group of people or an industry.

All it takes to ruin that is a couple of stupid random unpredictable decisions that you impose on your team without discussing things with them, without listening to them and without giving them a chance to react.

There are multiple awesome projects that might be running in your team right now. A couple of programmers are spending their night time to work on aspects of your project that might take your project to the next level. The real question is, are you going to listen or are you just going to take random decisions and move people around like pawns on a chessboard?

Choose wisely, because your choice ultimately decides the future of your team and your projects.