Phil is a Professional Scouser and has been bothering the internet with stuff since the late '90s. A self-taught web menace, he’s worked everywhere from Grange Hill & Hollyoaks, to Stockholm, and currently builds bits of the British Airways website.
In a different time, he was @philsherry, but his blood pressure needed lowering, so that’s very much in the past now.
I’m rather angry.
Scratch that. I’m actually very, very angry.
I’ve spent this weekend at home, just catching up on things and generally doing the usual amount of surfing from the couch. But this weekend, something hit me, and it hit me hard: my industry is falling apart.
I’ve recently used SO MANY high-profile websites that simply don’t work anywhere near as well as they should. I’m not on about small styling errors here. I’m talking about big things; from sites that fail miserably on iPads, to messing up taking payments. This will not do.
As a web developer, I’ve spent the last 15+ years building things to the best of my ability (and usually beyond). Most of that time has been spent doing things that I’ve never done before, due to the ever-changing nature of the industry.
“You want what? Okay, no problem!”
How the hell do I do that?—delivered on time.
Consequently, when my work goes live, I feel a surge of pride. I can point at it and say “I did that!” I’m self-taught, yet I’ve just built one of the most important parts of the flight selling flow on the British Airways website—I did that! Pride. Feel the glow from there? That’s me. Because I did that. Pride. But it’s not easy these days.
Somewhere down the line, pride is being slowly but surely killed by Marketing people, Project Managers, Business Analysts, and other such money-oriented people. Pride is dead, long live shipping shonky work!
- “The work isn’t up to scratch because the Project Manager’s had everyone in too many meetings? Not my problem, ship it.”
- “What’s that? You don’t like how you’ll have to do a nasty hack to ship it on time? Who cares. Get it done, ship it.”
- “It’s not been tested thoroughly? No time, ship it.”
People aren’t allowed to be proud of their work any more, because there isn’t time. Time is money, folks. Take your time, hurry up, but ship it. How can you be proud of something that you don’t believe in, because you had to rush it?
What we need here is some basic communication that will allow for breathing space. When you can breathe, you will produce much finer work.
- They’re telling you Wednesday, but you’re seeing Friday? Speak up.
- Someone else isn’t pulling their weight, which is impacting on your deadline? Have a chat about it.
- Not feeling it because it’s Monday afternoon and it’s raining? You love your job—get over yourself.
Web developers don’t work for the money (although, it certainly helps). No, most web developers are being paid to do the hobby that they love so much. That’s what sets us aside from the Project Managers et al, so do your best to help them understand how you can do the best work possible.
Own your work. Push back. Take pride in everything you do.