Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Moving up...?

As a software developer, one that loves what I do, there is not a lot of room to move upward in a large corporation. Developers are seen as just a resource, and it is the project managers, business analysts, and of course the salespeople who get all the recognition and big raises. The only way to move up in a technical position is to become an architect, which requires a significant amount of out-of-work effort in personal development to keep up with technologies and tools.

My current project was a step in the managerial field as a technical team leader. I have a strong hand in the design and architecture of the application, but in a very flat team structure where the entire team was responsible for the project planning (it was an Agile project). The first couple of months was very rewarding, with a lot of technical and architectural input in conjunction with the team lead responsibilities. The last few months were quite the opposite, with a strong focus on team and time management, with very little development effort aside from resolving quality issues. The main reason for this was that one of the developers was not very focused and took a significant amount of coaxing to follow the correct processes, and another one was dedicated, but not a very good developer. The best developer was new to the company and the customer site, but proved his capabilities very quickly.

When the project was coming near to an end, I put some feelers out for what I would be doing next. As it turned out, there was a new project that was trying to get started. Within a week I became the prime candidate as a Team Leader role on the project, and within two weeks I had been interviewed by the client and was just waiting on them to sign a resource contract before I was officially moving on to the project.

So, on Monday I will be a Team Lead on a new project, for a new client, but will be a team leader only, no development. The project is significantly larger than any I have worked on before, but is a strange mix of developers from both the client and my company, where we are just providing resources to fill positions, rather than running the project. This means i'll be managing a mostly internal team (they have also sourced contractors from elsewhere) as an external resource, which will be challenging.

All in all, I am looking forward to the change, but I am going to miss development a lot. Hopefully I enjoy the role enough that the lack of development doesn't destroy my work drive. Unfortunately I won't be seeing a raise or promotion based on this role until this time next year (unless I really push for it) as the yearly reviews are all over. Should this project go really well, it will bode very well for future work at the client, and hopefully I'll get some sort of recognition.

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