“The client needs this to work on IE 6.”
In the workplace, non-developers see developers as folks who make magic out of code. As a developer, you could be building complex API integrations all day or just clicking around playing West of Loathing on Steam, and 99% of your coworkers wouldn’t be able to tell the difference. Even though tech companies literally couldn’t exist without their dev teams, devs are also somehow paid less than people with job titles like Chief Inspiration Ninja who sit in pointless meetings all day stealing credit for everyone else’s work.
If you’ve ever wanted to learn how to better communicate with your dev team, you should know that there are some things that devs LOVE hearing from non-developers. For example, developers love hearing how you “saved them some time” by making difficult and course-altering technical decisions without consulting them. Thanks so much for thinking of your dev team! I swear we’re NOT envisioning the days we’ll lose trying to save the company from a choice you made based on the fact that you knew a little bit of HTML from that one time you coded your MySpace page.
Here are some more things developers love hearing from their non-developer co-workers.
“This change shouldn’t take more than a few minutes.”
Thanks, marketing coordinator! I appreciate you telling me that this fix on the site won’t take long in spite of the fact that you have no idea that the website was built in COBOL that someone hacked together when you were five years old.
“Let’s have a meeting!”
Oh man, developers love nothing more than when non-developers ask them to have meetings… about everything! Have to make a decision on colors? Let’s have a meeting! Want to try to convince your team to build it in WordPress? Sounds like a great way to spend three hours I could also use to build that product that’s a month behind. We should schedule a meeting to figure out when we should have this meeting!
“Don’t worry too much about security… it’s not like we’re going to get hacked or anything.”
Thanks for your input, operations specialist! I’m sure it won’t affect you when someone hacks into our system and steals the records from every single person in our company. But since you know so much about security, I’ll defer to you to protect my salary information, social security number, payroll bank account information and my passwords.
“There’s no requirements doc, but I’m sure you can figure it out.”
I appreciate your faith in me! I’m sure I’ll be able to build this exactly the way the client wants on the first try and won’t have to endure a screaming match of who fucked it up when we try to push this through and it’s nothing like what the client needs.
“I know I’m not a developer, but I think you should use this framework my cousin mentioned…”
Thank you for your thoughts, guy who still sends personal email from his hotmail account! We SHOULD build in Ruby just because your cousin said it seemed cool after taking a two-hour General Assembly coding workshop three years ago.
“I took the liberty of updating the codebase myself.”
You saved me so much time! And, don’t stress yourself out over how much of that “saved” time time we eventually lost when the site crashed entirely and I had to spend the next two days putting it back together.
“We don’t need your input because you’re not a creative.”
That’s right, developers are NEVER creative! We don’t spend literally ALL DAY creating things and there’s NOTHING creative about seeing how we can make complicated systems work together. Let’s just keep the developers out of the creative process AND downplay their ideas when they finally do have a chance to voice them. And then let’s blame them when they tell us why all the tech we dreamed up without them was never feasible in the first place.
“The client needs this to work on IE 6.”
Super retro! I’ll go dig through a shed to try to find a computer I can actually test this on, for the four people who will ever actually try to access your site from a Windows 2000 operating system.
“We don’t want to pay for the software you need to license, so why don’t you just build it yourself?”
Oh man, this’ll be so easy! I’m sure I can knock this out in two weeks. I mean, two months. Two years? Oh, fuck it, let’s just pay for the software that would have saved us $500,000 if we had licensed it two years ago.
“I know you’ve been working on it for a year, but we’re canceling this project.”
Yay! Thanks for freeing me up from all this time on the only project I was actually excited about at this company.
“We’ve contracted you on this client project… you know ColdFusion, right?”
Of course I do! Doesn’t everyone know this legacy system that was out with the George Bush era? I will gladly build your project in ColdFusion and try not to complain too hard when it shits itself and does literally nothing that more flexible codebases can do.
If you’ve ever said any of these things to your developers and they literally shoved their computers on the ground, shouted “WE’RE OUTTA HERE, YOU MANIAC!” and walked out the door while mooning you and the rest of the company, you can surmise that they were just SO EXCITED to get started! Or, maybe they’re just the kind of developers that would rather focus on making good work than getting stuck in bureaucratic nonsense. Whatever the case, just know that every time you say one of these things, you’re being a true friend to your development team. You know, just like Amber in accounting is to you when she incessantly explains to you exactly how you should do your job as the company’s sole Chief Inspiration Ninja.
If you liked this piece, feel free to clap those hands at the bottom of the page. I promise to keep writing funny things about startups and development teams if you do! ❤
Image by Arkady Arkagorodsky — http://msprojectreporter.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=58353093