воскресенье, 1 мая 2016 г.

Initiative

Some months ago we wanted to get a new developer on the team. My personal desire was to get him as soon as possible and of course I needed our recruiter's help with this. We had a short discussion with the lady about the kind of a person we'd like to hire and I was sure that we got on the same page and seeing the right candidate is only a matter of days. However, some weeks passed and I wasn't getting any resumés and not a single interview was scheduled. I was concerned almost to the point of going to the recruiter with the WTF?! expression in my face. Fortunately, though I chose to spend some 20 minutes writing a short description of two types of candidates that fitted my needs and emailing these to her.

What happened next surprised me a lot. Almost instantly I started getting a constant stream of CVs that matched my descriptions. It took us a couple days to schedule the first interview and only two or three weeks later (which means pretty soon in this context) we made an offer to a bright young fellow.

This story taught me a great lesson. I may believe that I have agreed on the goals and plans with someone, but if there is a slightest chance that doing some simple thing may help them get going I should do it without doubt and waiting. Spoken agreements made with your peers in a walkway are rarely clear and may easily get pushed away by newer and more comprehensible tasks coming from elsewhere. On the other side, taking some initiative to follow up and elaborate the problem may bring tremendous results.

Another example that I have on the same matter is concerned with an internal knowledgebase for developers. Despite having a vast code base rich with patterns and non-trivial solutions to various problems, we had limited guidance on this treasure and the reasoning behind its bits. Certainly our developers could benefit from a knowledgebase that would collect advice on various development questions.

I had a plenty of ideas on why we didn't have the knowledgebase, including the conspiracy theory that my other colleagues knew why such a thing wouldn't work. It turned out, though, that the only real reason for its absence was that being loaded with other tasks we simply didn't chose to set it up at some point. Thus, once a dedicated section was created in our internal wiki and declared a place to store all development-related knowledge, I started seeing different people contributing an article or two or simply voicing  support for the idea.

Starting things is difficult and if that's true for you, it's likely the same way for your friends and colleagues. Sometimes people lack a clear picture of the destination, in other cases they simply don't perceive the goal as important to anyone. No matter what's the core reason, just showing some gentle initiative may be enough to start the fire and get things going. It's only important to remember that initiative is not just about talking or thinking - it's all about acting, making the first step and showing the way.


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