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Category: Soft skills (Page 1 of 2)

Individualization in Programming – 10 Symptoms [CliftonStrengths #2]

In the previous post, I showed the Responsibility talent in examples. Now it’s time for my second top talent – Individualization.

For the record, here are my top 5 CliftonStrengths themes.

  1. Responsibilityread more
  2. Individualization
  3. Developer
  4. Ideation
  5. Consistency

I recommend clicking and reading up on what these themes mean in CliftonStrengths world. Yes, they are more or less self-explanatory, but you shouldn’t be too hasty with drawing conclusions.

For example, isn’t Individualization (everybody is different) at odds with Consistency (the need to treat people the same)? No! People are what they are, how you treat them is a separate thing. You can cultivate differnces between people, and still make them obey the law.

Individualization as a programmer – 10 symptoms

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Responsibility in Programming – 10 Symptoms [CliftonStrengths #1]

CliftonStrengths is a 177-question assessment, resulting in 5 out of 34 themes (talents) that best describe your personality. It got popular because often the descriptions of the theme and the advice they give you after the assessment are extremely accurate and helpful.

Here are my top 5 CliftonStrengths themes.

  1. Responsibility
  2. Individualization
  3. Developer
  4. Ideation
  5. Consistency

I recommend clicking and reading up on what these themes mean in CliftonStrengths world. Yes, they are more or less self-explanatory, but you shouldn’t be too hasty with drawing conclusions.

Example: if a person with Responsibility holds their newborn baby, do they feel the rush of responsibility? Well, typically no. Because they have lived with the decision and its consequences for 9 months already.

In this post and 4 following I’m going to show, by example, how each of these themes shows in my everyday work as a programmer.

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Communication benchmark – number of questions

If you want to be a good communicator, you should practice communication. This requires feedback and questions from your recipients make great feedback. You don’t have to ask anybody for anything extra – questions happen anyway.

You write something -> by the hardness of communication, you aren’t sure if it’s clear or not -> somebody is indeed unclear on something -> they ask for clarification -> you answer, then you improve for future

How to use questions as feedback?

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Send that link

In writing, whenever you’re referring to something that has URL, send that link.

Whenever you’re discussing Jira task, send that link.

Whenever mentioning a document, send that link.

Whenever referring to particular Slack discussion, send that link.

This will allow other people to immediately jump into details (if they need so). That in turn will reduce communication noise (typically in the form of annoying ping-pong messages).

If you think that the link won’t be helpful, because they know what you’re referring to – think twice. You’re in the loop, they might not. Also, it’s not a bad idea to lower your expectations, when communicating in IT. Have you ever been surprised by the fact that something obvious for you turned out to be not obvious at all for others?

If you think that they can check the details on their own if they want – think twice. Unless you’re pair-programming, they are working on something else. Their own tasks, tickets, context. They might need to find Jira it their bookmarks, search for the ticket name, make sure it’s yours – each operation taking 10 sec or so. If they are unlucky, this might be not the end – they might need more accesses, or more details.

You, on the other hand, have this thing in your browser. For you it’s cmd+l, cmd+c, cmd+v. For them it might be minutes turning into “ah fuck it, I don’t need to answer you now”.

If you think it will add to “spamming” in messages – think twice. This should not be the concern here. If you can save someone else’s minutes of their work, it means that the link was useful. It’s not spam at all, if somebody needs it. There might be a deeper problem with not distinguishing useful messages from real spam, but it’s another story. The bottom line is that link is never spam, when it supports foregoing discussion.

If the link turns out to not be useful – fine. I will argue that, in total, the habit of sending links will save much time, even if only a tenth of them are useful. The cost is too low and the potential benefits are too high.

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