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If the Command and Control management style is like the British Armada then do dev managers need to be a lot more like pirate ship captains?

Jeff Maxwell is an application architect with experience in Fortune 100 corporations, a longtime software developer and lifelong Oklahoma State Cowboy alumnus.

Jeff was a prior guest of Hello Tech Pros on episode 2 where we discussed Productivity and how Jeff took a $1 million project and reduced the team size from 25 to 4 people by restructuring the requirements document into bite-sized tasks.


Key Takeaways

  • You’re not a leader if you’re not listening to your team.
  • Leaders who are very non-technical in a very technical field can be challenging to work with if they are command and control driven and don’t solicit feedback from the team.
  • Developers are really good problem solvers. Leadership needs to identify those who are great problem solvers and empower them to make creative solutions.
  • Managing developers is like herding cats being a captain on a pirate ship.
    • Developers crave adventure.
    • They don’t want to follow rules that have no purpose or add value to the current situation.
    • They respect leaders who have hands-on experience and lead from the front lines.
  • Each ship and each captain had their own set of rules or Pirate Code.
    • Can’t light a candle after 9pm at night.
    • If you’re going to smoke or drink you must do it above deck after 8pm.
    • Each man gets a vote.
    • You must keep your pistols and cutlass (skills) ready for war.
    • The person who forsees the first sail gets the best weapons.
    • The captain is elected by the majority of the crew.
    • The musicians get to rest on Sunday but have to take requests on all other days by the crew.
  • The captain has to understand every aspect of the ship and what each role entails.
  • Each dev team should create their own Pirate Code and swear an oath.
    • Coding standards.
    • SDLC process.
    • Culture standards.


Resources Mentioned




Contact Guest


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