How to deal with difficult people on software projects


#1

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2019/01/04/how-to-deal-with-difficult-peo.html


#2

Please post a link to the chart or the article, since it’s impossible to find from the link you posted. Thanks.


#3

looks cool – but I think you forgot the link to the original?


#4

Linky: https://neilonsoftware.com/books/personality-patterns-of-problematic-projects/


#5

Well, I dont work in that, but in the less glamorous side of IT (sysadmin, a.k.a digital Morlock) but boy, “The meeting scheduler” is a bane

“Would it be ok to have a small call about this?”

No, it wouldnt be ok. Given that we all have email, and given that we all speak heavily accented but completly incompatible English, what about interrupting everything to get to a session of “sorry, can you repeat that” makes you think it would go faster?

Of course, they are beat by a more aggressive relative - the one that calls you without scheduling anything.


#6

So how do I figure out which one I am?


#7

I’m going to introduce this in my 11am meeting with a lovely team (no sarcasm, man it’s hard to be genuine on the internet). Myself as a lone developer with a team of non-technical, but very devoted and trusted folks. Hopefully when I tell them it’s for “self-reflection” and not to scold each other, they take that to heart. Although everyone here is more likely to bottle up their frustrations than act on them.

It’s presented negatively, but then pairings are suggested as solutions. It would be interesting to see descriptions of the healthy flipside of each. I’m definitely a reformed/reforming version of several of these (peacemaker, napkin sketcher, and extreme underestimator) but don’t want to swing too wildly, and would value a write-up of how to make these “natural” tendencies be a healthy part of the project work.


#8

is there any resolution at which the hover-over bubble doesn’t get cut off for the first item in each row? i think maybe the developer of this site falls somewhere on the page


#9

Hey, man. No need to be flippant


#10

It seems utopian to think that there’s anyone in tech who doesn’t embody any of these personalities at least to some degree. I’ve been varying levels of The Professor, The Firehose, and The Random Clicker over time - often to much success, in fact.


#11

good thing i’m in development instead of QA.

that said, i think everyone can probably be represented by 1 or more of these archetypes to some degree.


#12

After years of sending carefully crafted emails into the void, I’ve succumbed to the ad hoc meeting as pretty much the only way to pin people down on a decision or to watch them over their shoulder as they do the thing I need them to do.


#13

Deal with difficult people by quickly assuming they fall into one of 42 convenient categories.


#14

Presumably this is a 43rd category


#15

42?
So, six classes, nine categories each. We’ve found the ultimate question.


#16

Someone expressed a similar concern on Reddit, and this was my answer FWIW https://www.reddit.com/r/programming/comments/a102b3/how_to_deal_with_difficult_people_on_software/eao0brm/


#17

I knew I smelled some Myers-Briggs in there. And I agree, like the Myers-Briggs is more of a helpful conversation starter and a way to frame what feel like very squishy and vague qualities in a more manageable way, rather than a diagnostic tool. I just finished the meeting I mentioned above, and everyone enjoyed looking through the tool. Coincidentally, the software we’re building is to help consultants and early childhood centers work together to improve their centers, and we all thought the categories would not only help our software development, they also are interesting for informing the work of the consultants and centers with their collaboration.


#18

@neilonsoftware

I found it odd that I had to navigate through an unreadable screen cap and a mis-attributed and broken link in order to end up at the link that should have been given in the first place ( https://people.neilon.software/).

But a pleasant surprise nonetheless. I am a great fan of your work. There is a dire shortage of people writing on the strategy of software development who have deep experience in the field.

And this is, I think, an important piece of work. It’s may be a terrific framework for diagnosing problems on development teams. But more obviously, it’s a wickedly clever tool to infect development teams with good culture.

edit: link updated to reflect the link recommended by @neilonsoftware in reply to this post.


#19

Or https://neilonsoftware.com/books/personality-patterns-of-problematic-projects/ where he talks about it AND the picture is there.

Oops, @edrowland beat me to it.


#20

Yeah…usually the link that is shared is people.neilon.software. Thank you for the feedback! I’m been surprised how positively it’s being received despite it being negative in it’s nature, i.e., there are people you work with who are difficult.