If you are blessed enough to be leading a team of developers or software engineers you’re in one of three camps.
You’re lucky and you’ve had an opportunity to hand pick each of your direct reports from your vast pool of previous employees, collegues, and friends. You know them, trust them and have picked them because you know they’re the best.
You’re somwhat lucky and you got to pick some of your crew, but the rest were there when you got there or were forced on you because the VP of Staples and Paper Clips thinks they’re the best possible fit.
You’re screwed (maybe) you walk into a team that someone else built or worse yet, a team that just came to be, but no one is really sure how or when it happened.
No matter which group you fit into, the following holds true (hopefully): You have at least some “Star Power” on your team. These stars are the best and worst people you can have working for you and whatever you do, DON’T LOSE THEM!!! The average team, in my experience, is made up more or less as follows:
20% Star performers – remember, these are the guys and gals you don’t want to lose.
70% Average performers – Well somone has to do the grunt work and even come up with a brilliant idea every once in a while. We’ll talke about these in a different post.
10% Bottom of the barrel performers – I was thinking of talking about these in a future post, but please do us all a big favour and fire them. you’ll save yourself a lot of trouble and save me from having to wite a long post that’s just going to conclude with… FIRE THEM!!!
Well, that was a rather long winded introduction, but lets jump right into it. So, who are these Star performers anyway? What makes them so special that they deserve a verbose post just for them?
These are the guys and gals that are brilliant on a regular basis. Programming and Software Engineering is what they do in their sleep. Innovation is routine for them and they leave the average developers scratching their heads trying to figure out exactly when and how they got left in the dust. The Starts are more then just developers, they also have a certain entrepernurial streak to them, most of the ones I’ve met seem to understand the inner workings of the business they’re in better then the VP of Product Development does. As an aside, these stars tend to intimidate business people, more on that later.
Great, so we have Stars and we’re going to keep them. “No problem,” say you “Confusement, you’ve made your point, but didn’t you get this across in the first paragraphs?” Well, yes I did, but I didn’t tell you HOW to keep them, now did I?
Good… That’s coming in Chapter the Second