Building Reliability Part 2: How To Be a Reliable Developer
We Must Be Reliable
It's fine that our client's websites must be reliable. It's not that difficult of a case to make. What's a more pressing matter though is us. We, the web developers, must be reliable or the websites we build don't stand a chance.
Much of the work that must be done to become a reliable web developer is personal work, not tech work. We must work on ourselves, on our own psychology in order to give our clients what they need.
Are we easily distracted?
Do we find it hard to focus on our client's problem for lengths at a time? If so, how do we expect to ever give them good counsel and reliable code?
Are we honest?
Do we tell ourselves the truth about how much time a project will take so that we can, in turn, give our clients a reliable budget and timeline? Have we done the personal work to be capable of being honest with ourselves?
Can we communicate?
Sure you can talk, but can you listen? Have you done the personal and interpersonal work necessary to hear about someone else's desires without attachment to your own?
Are we efficient?
Have we done the workday in and day out to make ourselves more efficient? Do we use the right tools for the job so that the job gets done faster, but right the first time?
Do we have integrity?
If we make a promise to our client, do we keep the promise? Our clients are running marketing campaigns that have significant deadlines attached. Many pieces are working together toward a greater whole. Can our clients depend on us to deliver what we said we would deliver when we said we would deliver it?
Do we play well with others?
Above I acknowledge how many areas of deep expertise are involved in what I call Web Reliability. We can try and master the big reliability picture and guide a team of people toward smooth flow. But quite a few web developers are rightly going to specialize in an area of expertise. This is right and good. The question is will these experts play well together? The owner of a website needs a primary care physician. But the patient ails in areas of the medicine where deep experts are required. Nevertheless, all must work together. Are we all prepared to work well together?
Are we a guide?
Can our clients count on us to guide them through complex problems and into elegant and reliable solutions? Remember that our clients are juggling. They are busy. They count on us to give them wise counsel. They trust us to guide them away from peril and toward reliability. Have we done the personal work necessary?
Yes, in this blog post I complain a lot about the state of things. I do have something constructive to offer, though. I wrote a book about how to start fixing the Web Reliability problem. You can check it out here.