18
soull00t
119d

that one legendary guy who cranks out code and builds insane features. PMs (product management) love him because he builds features in several months which 10 devs together couldn't have built in the same time (so they say), features that are loved by customers as well, become their new standard and that have saved our company's asses in the past.
features are really awesome, performant and have very few bugs (compared to the rest of the software シ).
but this guy seems to live for this job. he also works at weekends, at unholy times of day and night and even in his holidays (he doesn't care that this is actually illegal, in terms of employee's rights, and he wouldn't listen to his superiors, no matter what they tell him)
so far, so good - except that he will probably die of some stroke or something very soon due to this lifestyle.
but it must be an absolute pain in the ass to work with him, as long as you're a developer (or his superior).
he lives in his own world and within the software, his features are also his own world. since the different modules interact with each other, sometimes you would be assigned a bug that might have its cause in some interaction of your and his module. talk with him about it? forget it. he wouldn't answer most devs who contacted him for some reason. ever. fix it in his module yourself? might happen that he just reverts your changes to his module without comments. so some bugs would lie on your desk forever because theoretically you know what would need to be done but if you cannot reach out into HIS world, there's no way to fix it. also - his code might be good in terms of performance and low bug numbers. but it seems to be hard to work on that code for everybody else but him.
furthermore, he is said to be really rude. he is no team player, but works on a software that is worked on by a huge team.
PMs think he's a genius, just a great dev, but they don't understand that other devs need to clean up the mess behind or around him.
everyone who's been his superior so far recommends to get him fired, but the company wouldn't fire him because they don't want to lose his talent. he can just do what he wants. he can even refuse to work on certain things because he thinks they are boring and he is not interested in them. devs seem to hate him, but my boss said, they are probably also a bit jealous because of his talent. i think, he's not wrong. :)
i haven't actually met him so far or was actually "forced" to deal with him, but i've never heard so many contrastive things about one person, the reputation of his, let's say vibrant personality really hurries ahead. he must be a real genius, after all i've heard so far, like he lives in the code. i must say i'm a bit curious but also somewhat afraid of meeting him one day.
do you also have such a guy at your company?

Comments
  • 9
    I attended what was considered the best high school in my country for natural sciences, 7 of my 30 classmates got into Cambridge. I personally know more than 10 people like that, and I firmly believe that they're never as beneficial as they seem, it's just that the exorbitant cost of their inability to cooperate appears in other people's performance.
  • 8
    @lbfalvy I agree. Churning features out that no one else can understand has a net loss in the long term, not a net positive. Unwilling to communicate and design a domain with others. I would not stick this developer on core software. I would stick him on bits that aren't core to the business or POC tasks. Even if he goes 10x faster, the day he leaves all those problems behind will make every other Dev 10x slower
  • 6
    Let's fire people who are good at what they do. That'll definitely make things not suck.
  • 4
    I've met a lot of folk like that in all kinds of industries.

    Often it isn't their ability to cooperate well, it is other peoples ability to cooperate with them that is the weak point.

    I've found myself given the role of interfacing between such people and the rest of the company, because I can convey at times in a single word what the company wants them to do.

    Where as normally someone will waffle on at them for half an hour and not really say in an accurate way, what it is they want the person to do.

    Oh look I'm talking, I'd better stop that before someone accuses me of saying something bad about something I had no idea you shouldn't talk about..
  • 0
    He's CEO (or their relative) undercover or some shit?
  • 2
    @d4ng3r0u5 if you're writing code that no one else understands and refuse to let others in, can you really says it's a good job? It's a fast job but not good.
  • 1
    @Nanos I also thought about that, but the fact that his output requires cleanup indicates that he isn't just difficult to communicate with but rather doesn't care about other people. Writing code with the next reader in mind is a fundamentally different act of communication than talking or writing docs. His failure at both kinds of communication increases the likelihood that his problem is with imagining a perspective other than his own and not with human formalisms.

    That is, of course, unless his "messy code" is actually structured in terms of concepts the other devs aren't familiar with. Every once in a while I find myself in teams where dependency injection refers to a language feature and simple and localized state machines are manually disassembled into complex interactions of multiple services that are near impossible to extend without introducing independent variables with invalid combinations.
  • 7
    There was a guy at my workplace with a similar reputation. He worked completely remote, so most of us never saw him in person and he never attended to any online meeting. Our team lead gave him his tasks seperately to save us from talking with him. One day I got assigned to a very large feature on that guys project by big boss himself. Damn!
    I spent extremely long time to understand the very complicated thing since I did not dare to ask the guy for help after all I heart and finally wrote the feature. Then I made a pull request to him. I wouln't have to from a companies hierachy point of view and even team lead discouraged me from doing so since negotiations with the guy would be too frustrating and time consuming and just push my stuff to master. He prepared me to earn a lot of rage and critique.
    ...
    After two weeks he briefly responded along the lines of 'nice work, write more tests'. That was all.

    Lesson: Give zero fucks or less about what people tell you about someone else.
  • 1
    @lbfalvy In the old days, you just had to threaten folk with the sack to get them to do what you wanted. :-)

    Management need to be less soft with him !

    I think its like training animals, eg. horses, tigers..
  • 0
    @vintprox nope, as far as I know :D
  • 2
    @paflov unexpected plot twist... ^^ nice to hear that it went so well with him in the end. you're right, I should make up my own mind about this guy. even if it's hard with everyone having such a strong opinion about him...
  • 3
    Opinions tend to have a domino effect and if one person has a negative opinion, shares it with someone and that person blindly approaches with a negative attitude, you have basically determined the outcome, a priori. And maybe you're the one that can communicate productively and send someone dow the right path.
    Not to say that guy isn't difficult, but not even trying with a normal approach, whatever that may mean, has a tendency to fail.
  • 0
    @d4ng3r0u5 im convinced devs will find anything to complain about on this site. cant be too good or too bad a dev, you have to be exactly my level or it must be bad
  • 1
    @fullstackchris just have to write code that current colleagues and ones working there after they left can understand to be good imo
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