The Tedious Life of Grunt Programmers

How often it is when a good developer is stuck in an uncooperative team. And as he’s the junior most of his team, his office life becomes very unhappy! After all, there’s nothing else he can do but to survive, right? Wrong! There’s ALWAYS something a grunt programmer can do to improve the workplace. Does that mean he should start ordering his fellows around? Nope, he needs to opt for more positive and influential strategies, some of which are discussed below.

Do what you must

The first strategy is to just get things done! Just follow the practices you wish for all your team members to follow. Set up systems that are lacking, while trying not to act like a smart-ass know it all! Build your own daily build server and conduct your own usability tests. Don’t depend on others to set things up for you.

Spread the word like a virus

Suppose no one on your team is willing to keep a bug database or a certain repository or to use source control. The key is to not let this bring you down. Instead focus on developing all of these systems for yourself first and keep following them until the influence they have catch up with the rest of the members.

Help in developing excellence

Play a role in the hiring process for the team. Look for good candidates to recruit. Refer people you think a worthy addition. Have involvement during interviews. Focus on people who are determined to learn and grow, even if inexperienced in the field. Help them to learn and review their work regularly. Don’t give direct critique as it might get offensive; opt for more subtle ways instead, like reporting a bug while leaving them to figure out the solution by themselves.

Contain the collateral damage

Even the greatest of teams can have a loose end or two. There is nothing scary about that. The scary part is to leave the end unattended and uncontrolled. That’s where you have to put your effort in. the best way to improve this situation is to control the damage scope. Try to keep them indulged in fixing their own mistakes, for months if possible, rather than giving them more areas to affect.

Don’t let interruptions get in the way

Unfortunately, not all work environments are happy places. Every unhappy place is unhappy due to its own reasons. You need to find your “meditation” time away from all interruptions to ensure your own productivity. Isolate working hours that would provide peace and quiet away from the noise and other team members to ensure that you can produce work without any interruptions.

Contribute like a boss

For all of the above strategies to work successfully, you first need to ensure that your position as a contributor is unchallenged. If that is not the case, your own career will face only brutality as you’ll be the one who is all words and doesn’t accomplish anything himself. This image is not right and will only produce negative results. You have to ensure that you deliver, before you take time out to improve the process.

The bottom line is that you need to know that you CAN bring change even if you’re just a grunt programmer. You don’t have to be in-charge to make improvements. It takes time to bring about the change you desire but it is, nevertheless, always possible!