Wednesday, October 22, 2008

People are people, cash, hardware, and hog heads are resources

Props to Matt for sending this to me.

It was a brief consulting engagement. Version 3.0 was behind schedule. I was privy to this product planning meeting but still naive about corporate lingo. At first I thought "resources" meant money or time but it didn't compute.

Finally I realized that "resource" meant "human." Or, in this case, "software developer." Oh.

I hate it when managers and executives refer to the highly talented people on their teams as resources, it completely dehumanizes them. I have noticed managers making this mistake for years, and whenever I have heard it, it was like nails on a blackboard.

I remember way back back as a young(er?) officer of making the mistake of referring to members of my platoon staff as resources in a company meeting. The company commander laid a private smack down on me that I have never forgot.

It is really easy to switch into this PHB speak when talking about management and operations matters. But it is something all good leaders need to fight against. After all, many of these co-workers are also your friends, and you would never refer to your friends as resources would you?

Remember, despite deadlines, pressure to deliver, and customer demands, your team is comprised of people, people with friends, family, and commitments outside of work. Your computer can work 24/7 but not your team. Always thinking of your team as people will help you remember that they have a life outside of work. It is your job as their leader to promote a healthy work/life balance at all times.

At the end of the day, like Soylent Green, resources are people.


Sylvain St-Germain said...

I like this post Jason, I do not know why I did not think to blog about that myself.

I too agree that using resources for people is a bad habit that has creeped in many org.

Please do not hesitate to whip me if you hear me say this! (but I bet you that you wont!)

Jason Cohen said...

Hi Jason,

Glad you liked the post!

So funny that you said "Soylent Green" -- I actually have an entire slide in my Code Review presentation that is the movie poster. My line is: "People think that because we sell a tool, I think a tool is the most important component of code review. But it isn't. It's easy to get caught up with tools, but process, like Soylent Green, is made of people."

This is my segue into talking about all the social aspects of code review.

Thanks again!

Jason Mawdsley said...

Great minds think alike :)