Top of the Food Chain, Baby!

Something that has always bothered me… I have always considered Software Developers to be pretty much at the top of the food chain when present in a software company. And that is not just because I happen to be one! Please allow me to explain…

If you are a software company, then your whole business is about software. Hence, your most valuable asset is your group of software developers! Yet many software companies treat their developers as disposable items, when they should be treated as the least disposable asset.

Another thing: software developers are generally the only ones present within an organization that can be fully productive (and make money) on their own, taking on the roles of almost all other members of an organization. For example, a single software developer can start their own company, do market research and design, architect, develop, test, manage, package (for deployment), and market a software product. They can also do their own user support. Now, of course, they may not be at good at marketing, as a large organization’s marketing group, but they at least CAN do it to some degree. Can people in the marketing group do that? How about the H.R. or Sales groups?

On the other hand, almost all other people/groups present within a software organization need the presence of a software product (hence, duh, the software developers) to do their jobs. Without a product, the marketing department has nothing to sell. The QA department has nothing to test. Project/Product management have nothing to manage. And without all that, the CEO has no company to lead. It all starts with the developers!

Using the above example about how a developer can successfully take on all those other roles in the organization, when is the last time you met someone in marketing that can do all that? Or in support? Or QA? Or any levels of senior management or executives?

Also, when is the last time you saw a corporate announcement (from a software company) that seems to credit/mention all other groups in the company except for software development? Dunno about you, but I sure see that shit a whole lot more than I should. Developers do not ask for much; we expect to get recognized for doing our part, and expect to get rewarded accordingly. Sounds pretty simple, huh?

Writing code for 8+ hours a day takes a bit more work and brain power than cold-calling someone, taking a client out to lunch, or bitching at developers about missing a milestone after you “adjusted” their estimates without their permission or guidance!

Something for managers/executives to think about the next time they are tying to figure out how to spend their budget or distribute the allocated raise/bonus money:

Never Forget Where Your Bread Gets buttered!

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