“The Applebee’s of software development” – we aren’t your neighborhood waiters
This phrase, “The Applebee’s of software development”, really rings home with me. We are not waiters! We are extremely bright and helpful problem solvers (who happen to be passionate about software). With that being said though, we do know how to follow instructions. But that’s not how you get the biggest bang for your buck with our crew.
The biggest challenge here is to recognize when you’re being asked to be a waiter. The second challenge is how to not be a waiter.
If you find yourself only implementing what someone tells you to implement, you might be a waiter. There is definitely a time where this is the right thing to do. However, if you want to be more than a waiter, just remember that you are trying to help. Find out what the goal is that is trying to be met, and help brainstorm ideas of how to achieve that goal. As you diverge, keep as engaged as possible, and never judge the ideas that are being brought up. As you converge on an idea, make compromises and remember to keep an open mind as you critique ideas as a team.
What you’ll find out is, as you earn respect and trust, you’ll be given more creative privileges, and you’ll be less of a waiter and more of a doctor.
Just for the record, Jeff Patton agrees.