The Shield and the Sword- 2 minutes read - 330 words
To successfully deliver software a developer needs a shield and a sword.
A good product owner, delivery manager or alike that will shield the engineers from having to attend too many meetings, giving long-winded status updates and essentially allow them to get on with it. Shields go to all the meetings with the “business” and explain what can and cannot be done, without the engineer having to attend. A shield would also filter all the last-minute requirements or requests for gold plating without having to be dragged into endless meetings.
In short, protect from the top.
It also is necessary to have a sword. The ability to cut straight to the point, not get dragged into too many discussions on how to do something or let meetings go off on a tangent, cut off conversations that go nowhere and ensure that meetings don’t overrun.
In short, protect from the sides.
If I can stretch the metaphor further, the third requirement is a horn. The ability to be able to shout for help and wait for the cavalry (I’m aware I’m mixing medieval and Wild West metaphors here). Complexity in software means that no systems can be developed as a lone wolf. Especially during lockdown and remote working, it is important to maintain an open comms channel (yikes, the metaphor has just gone from fantasy to sci-fi)
In short, don’t be a lone wolf.
I don’t believe I’m quite there. I’m not (yet) ruthless or diplomatic enough to be able to avoid meetings without feeling I should have been there, or cut short ones that go nowhere. In fact, I’m probably most guilty for going off on a tangent myself. And I know that I like going off on my own.
Thankfully, as software engineers, we very rarely work on our own. And when there a great colleagues about that are very good at being shield and sword, and when people shout for help straight away, that’s when stuff gets done…Tags agile
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