Developers Club geek daily blog

2 years, 10 months ago
(beginning of article here)

Risk management at investment into programmer talents

On the other hand — this effect has no name; perhaps, it should be named "desyatikradnichestvo"bad developers will cost to you not insignificant deterioration in labor productivity. No, for a number of the hardly perceptible reasons they are capable to sabotage complex program system catastrophically. The bad developer who constructed threateningly complete of errors or worse than ever the designed system in its basis planted the ticking time bomb and to rake ruins after it jerks, attachments will be required, it is thousandfold exceeding saved on start. Worse than that, work on removal of debris will demand attraction of efforts of much bigger number of good developers, and on more progressive tense.

In this moment software development is the complete antithesis to other industries — we will tell, space — in which incompetence and gross errors are much more obvious; it is easier to find and correct them at early stages until the cost of such correction grew to heaven yet. (Like construction of the airplane in which during real operation fatal defect was found) also much easier to hold the delayed crises from distribution, to isolate and correct.

The crisis caused by "a problem of 2000" was not generation of bad design; design pragmatic — that is called, "mediocre" was its cause. Now imagine in what repair — for decades — rather badly designed key nodes of today's program systems will manage. Worse than that, imagine that the talented "desyatikratnik" who came over to the Dark Side can do (that is consciously become "stokradnik"). Or the good guys leaving "rear entrances" in the systems developed by them as the insurance policy in case OAO NPP "XXX" did not pay development of this application.

As a result investment into developers as the capital does not consist only in hiring of programmers and their subsequent sorting according to talent level. A secret — in their sorting and distribution according to risk levels.

It is traditional when the speech comes about the human capital, managing directors simply do not think of risk management. Even if they think of it not as about a traditional resource, then at best — in terms of the fixed price per unit of profit. The typical hiring manager will talk to you phrases it seems "the cost of hiring for this position is equivalent to six months of the salary offered by you".

Such accounting logic simply does not work concerning programmers.

But the software companies think in a different way. They quite are controlled with sorting according to levels of talent and risk — both at the level of the industry in general, and at the individual levels a pit — but not at the level of the labor relations. How they manage it?

Life cycle of programmer talent

First of all, the large software companies are put in large volumes of candidates so early as soon as perhaps — offering them environments and development tools that allows to bypass completely an education system and to catch talent in the hands at the earliest stage of its development.

Then they keep talents on the hook by means of competitions, advanced types of practical works (Google Summer of Code type) and other mechanisms "employment, but not absolutely works" throughout training in college. Further the companies employ the majority of them, watch their performance, and sort talents by levels of potential payback and risk.

Of course, they should not forget to offer magnificent free buffets; besides, they need to provide the corresponding mechanisms for an insurance from incompetence — to keep chaos which bad programmers are capable to arrange under control. They have to be put in technologies (we will tell, how Google in Python) with a view to talents, but not on the market.

The relations do not stop even when employment stops. Talented programmers are so valuable that you are simply forced to organize the open ecosystems (based on API, access to sources of valuable information like geospatial data and elements of open source codes) to save them in the technology Universe even after their leaving from you. The former programmer of Microsoft will be still valuable to this company — if he advances thought everywhere that "we should purchase products of Microsoft".

As the developer materet, it becomes harder and harder for it to switch from one technology to another — and at some point it will remain "sat down" on one of them — we will tell, Java, With ++ or Facebook of API — on for the rest of the life; then it is possible to expect that there is with it it and will grow old. When this technology reaches the maturity, the value of the talent "sitting" on it will begin to go down — as well as the cost of its deduction. Buffets will become poorer, remuneration for work will dry out, outflow of personnel will decrease, and the talent will go to a decline together with technology. It to some extent is even melodramaic: as the captain disappearing in waves, standing on the bridge of the sinking vessel.

This scenario of a decline of life of programmers and their vessels has couple of exceptions. Rather talented save in themselves evergreen capability to turn itself under the freshest, being on rise set of technologies when that is wished. The second exception is a case Big. If the time bomb forgotten by incompetent developers in ancient geological layers of system suddenly jerks, extending an earthquake shiver through newer layers, veterans hoary with age can suddenly find the abilities again demanded (we already had an opportunity to observe it in small scale before the 2000th year, but correction of a bardk of that time demanded not much talents; though it is possible to provide more critical failures expecting us in the future which will demand from the retired heroes and heroines to return on the workplaces that to correct everything — in style of the movie "Armageddon".

In other words, you have to not only enter into the relations with developers at early age, but also provide to them or stability and quality of life (that who fears risks and dreams of own children and the cozy house in the decent area), or freedom of enterprise (that at whom hands itch to get rid of dictatorship of the administration and to begin thoriate the own road in this life). You have to indulge both to homebodies, and reckless guys.

And you have to find a method beautifully to alloy veterans on rest — much more politely (and more costly), than in other industries — they can be your lifebuoy if everything will begin to be scattered in the eyes. Though so far it is not so obvious, but as the generation of baby-bumerov retires (and together with them — and knowledge of early geological layers of the planet eaten by the software), risk management, connected with outdated software, becomes large business. When the last veterans who are still remembering old as bones of a mammoth, but still used programmna, we will appear in a situation which does not have historical precedents begin to die.

If you manage to turn successfully all aforesaid, then for you — to the large software company — attachments which you made in the 12-year-old school student, will bring in the income throughout all his life — not very well whether it will work for you directly, or not. At the beginning of you will expect only expenses; to the 18 anniversary (or about that) it will begin to bring you the first dividends; by 30 years will return your attachments; will provide an insurance for a business model as your company reaches a maturity (for example, the considerable reason for which Java is still actual is that a great lot of talents is still enclosed in it), and at last, will provide you with an insurance from disorders (by the way, it and is that "flow" which you have to manage, unlike "stock" of players on a bench).

If we started talking about history, let's carry out small digression for the readers not familiar with the industry of the software, and still do not understand what epoch-making event its birth became for all other economy.

The software devours the world — the forty third year in a row

As recently Alan Kaye, one of pioneers today's — eaten by programs — planets noted, the Internet has no "feet", "completion of work" or "back wind" buttons. When it appeared, history, one may say, started from scratch. The software began to eat up pre-computer layers of a civilization — and to postpone the for their place.

One fine day we will evaluate extreme importance of the events, and we will replace markers "to N e / AD" on "to e. And. / aa. And." ("till an era of the Internet / during an era of the Internet") which reference point will be on October 29, 1969 — day when the Internet was started (in other words, I write this article in the 43rd year e. And.).

And, by the way, this era there will be a zero year — if programmers got down to business.

And here we approach nowadays well-known thesis of David Kirpatrik that any company is a software company today.

We only begin to understand that the software became central for a funktsionirorvaniye of any company — regardless of what it makes or what services provides.

Still other economy managed to survive on those talents which the industry of the software could not inhaust in itself (for various reasons — since unwillingness of talents to move to California, and finishing with the fact that talents, it appears, can be interested in something else in addition to actually programming). In the majority of the companies which are not connected directly with software development, developers are meanwhile reconciled with the status of the lowest caste, despite all the increasing their shortage and escalating importance of their role.

But it just about will change.

As each company begins to be reorganized around understanding of that how program systems are critical for its business model, on economy waves of changes will run. In that measure in what gain of number of talented programmers does not correspond to a growing demand, the separate companies — and the whole sectors of the industry — will begin to collapse, having been unable to satisfy the needs for developers adequately.

Survivors will find themselves in escalating dependence on those who took care in time to provide themselves with considerable deposits of programmers. Your company is not capable to provide own IT needs? It does not matter: they will be provided by Microsoft — not free of charge, of course. Your employees — even not having any relation to software, by and large, will be controlled by Google, Apple, Facebook and to them similar setting a level of their expectations by means of the markets of software turned on the consumer (that konsyyumerization of IT about which all so long went on, to whom popadya).

Whether there can to be in general industries which are not connected with the software konkuretosposobny? It is difficult, but also it is not impossible. The largest counter which they can stake are the data which are saved up by them. In fight against IT konsyyumerization pressure from your employees and Mikrosofto-razmyagcheniyem (a word play: Microsoftening — Microsoft + softening, "softening" — a comment perev.) your business model from IT department, your only weapon is a data access which are not programs.

I will write about it somehow another time. If you do not know how to be controlled with the only weapon which you have it will be soon beaten out from your hands (the cartographic, film, musical, news, publishing and restaurant industries already felt it on the bitter experience).

Look from talents

Nobody likes to be goods in a butcher shop — even delicious tenfold cutting. If (and when) the person, at the same time being a valuable resource, realizes the economic role, resistance begins.

Programmers not fools. In general the vast majority catches thought on the fly. Ignorant "desyatikratnik" who could be handed over as events or cash are extremely rare. If you find they are oppose a desire to milk it for the sake of immediate profit, and instead bring it up to date. Believe, in such way you will purchase something more valuable — the friendly relations with it.

The natural reaction arising at the good developer who realized own importance is a transition or to an individualist nayomnicheskomu, or collectivist shop to views.

Individualists become tough negotiators, carefully checking own market price and constantly renewing agreements. They carefully invest in maintenance of the skills at the level demanded now, and as they can, oppose to replacement in the becoming obsolete part of an ecosystem. Such developers try to hedge the rates, to participate in several projects and to separate not too from the world of open source software. They select positions with a view to rapid growth, and keep an opportunity to run away from the sinking ship with not sullied reputation if feel real risk. With an ulterior motive technical talents mercenaries are snatched away in flight when the startup collapses: sros on CTO, capable it is successful to shift the blame in a failure of the enterprise on business management, ogromnen.

Other type of developers inclines to tsekhopodobny structures which serve as the centers of balance of forces in permanent pulling of a rope with holders of the razrabotchiko-capital. However, this conflict looks not as typical class fight, and it is rather as a loud clap doors: instead of creating labor union which would undertake negotiations with managers talented developers simply leave the situation which is not arranging them, and look for to themselves something better by means of that shop structure. Efficiency of restriction of mobility by means of options is much lower, than that which was provided in due time by the Russian serfdom.

As a result we have thin balance of forces between developers and owners of the razrabotchiko-capital, and cyclic current of this capital from the center to the periphery during which separate razrabochik are included into the address and leave it.

Become result new type of economy. Welcome to the world of a razrabotchikonomika!

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