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Bad Programming Team Assignments

I've recently been assigned to a new team.  On the old team, I was the best developer, and the most assertive.  On this new team, there is a guy who is equally matched with me, and who is as assertive as I am.  The 'manager' of our team simply assigns work and disappears into his office, so any social problems are left for us to sort out. 

Anybody who's ever owned dogs know that you just don't throw two alpha dogs in together because they'll kill each other.  If you were in my situation, would you continue to fight it out to the detriment of the group?  Find a way to suggest that management separate us?  Give in and let the other guy win?

anon
Monday, March 15, 2004

Serious question:  What will it cost you to give in and let the other guy win?

Kyralessa
Monday, March 15, 2004

You are not a dog.

son of parnas
Monday, March 15, 2004

>> "Serious question:  What will it cost you to give in and let the other guy win?"

Promotion opportunities.  Plus, our coding styles don't mesh.  We're both good, I'd say - but not together.   

anon
Monday, March 15, 2004

Have you thought about slipping strychnine in his coffee?

Ugnonimous
Monday, March 15, 2004

I think it's high time that you start marking your territory before he does.

Gustavo W.
Monday, March 15, 2004

This is a crazy idea, I know;  but try co-operation.

Bleh
Monday, March 15, 2004

I don't have a link to it;  but I guess now is a good time to bring up the infamous study showing the correlation between confidence and incompetence...

Bleh
Monday, March 15, 2004

This is the *best* post on JOS *ever* !!!

Oh .... you were being serious :(

A brief glimpse of what's wrong with this industry
Monday, March 15, 2004

Team first.  Individuals second.  Didn't you watch the Super Bowl?

teamwork, baby, teamwork
Monday, March 15, 2004

"Team first.  Individuals second.  Didn't you watch the Super Bowl?"

So expose his nipple broach.

Mike
Monday, March 15, 2004

For some reason, this reminds me of a T-shirt I saw once with a picture of a dogsled and a caption that read, "Unless you're the lead dog, the view never changes."  Which made me think, "yeah, but even the lead dog is still strapped to a sled in the freakin' snow."

Anyway... what you seem to be saying is that you can't get along with someone else on your team, and that you can only conceive of interacting with him in terms of zero-sum competition.  Did I miss anything?

Sam Livingston-Gray
Monday, March 15, 2004

Try seducing him?

Anonymous Coward
Monday, March 15, 2004

do you want to be the first one? it's a game, but it's a war as well, a competition, a championship. if you will be the 2nd, in that case you know that you are not the a-geek in that team.


Monday, March 15, 2004

Sorry, I can't be helpful (but really, has anybody else been helpful on this thread, either? :-p). The mention of a funny t-shirt causes me to want to post a story.

A friend sees a woman in a store who's wearing a button, that says "PUSH: Pray Until Something Happens". He was trying to decide whether she was a really stupid religious person, or a really cynical atheist. :-p

Brad Wilson (dotnetguy.techieswithcats.com)
Monday, March 15, 2004

>>Anybody who's ever owned dogs know that you just don't throw two alpha dogs in together because they'll kill each other.

Cool.  Maybe your manager's running a pool.  Put me down for $20 on the other guy.

Nick
Monday, March 15, 2004

Odds are that after this, neither one of you will ever lead a team again.

Norrick
Monday, March 15, 2004

I'm guessing after you walk in a circle a few times sniffing each others butts, you'll know which of you should be lead dog.

eyes a rollin
Monday, March 15, 2004

I get lots of email than can help you. Shall I forward it?

j0hnson
Monday, March 15, 2004

Well, assuming you aren't simply trolling my advice to you is to check your ego at the door and have a talk with your manager. You might want to ask your manager to call a team meeting where issues such as coding standards will be discussed.

You might currently be one of the big fishes in a little pond, however, only people who don't need to work can go around acting like a primadonna forever.

One Programmer's Opinion
Monday, March 15, 2004

> You might want to ask your manager to call a team meeting

Or have a team meeting without the manager, but with the other members of the team ... a democracy if you will.

Christopher Wells
Monday, March 15, 2004

You could try learning team skills and stop blaming your boss for putting you on the same team (he should have known not to put two alpha males together...).

Alpha male is a crap term for an individual (male or female really) who is a born leader type but has no leadership skills nor team skills. Just wants to stand up, start arguments and mark his territory.

A good team should be able to survive with ten strong leaders, and in reality it happens for all manner of reason.

Aussie Chick
Monday, March 15, 2004

Is your forehead bleeding yet?

Simon Lucy
Monday, March 15, 2004

"To lead, you must follow behind. "

-Lao Tzu

Bill Rushmore
Monday, March 15, 2004

Why were you assigned to a new team? Did the other team oust it's "alpha" leader?

anon-y-mous cow-ard
Monday, March 15, 2004

You have a bad manager, for putting two alpha males together without picking one person to lead.  It sounds like he's avoid a difficult situation by letting you two duke it out, without consideration of the collateral damage.

Of course he might not realize you two are alpha males.  You could always bring the issue up and ask him to choose.  If he doesn't, then you're shit out of luck.

Try finding the most respected, successful, manager at your company, and ask for their advice.  Don't ask them what you should do, becase that's your responsibility.  Just ask them for their point of view, consider it, follow up with thoughtful questions, and thank them.  Ask them if you can keep the discussion private and avoid bitching about your manager.

Best of luck!

VP
Monday, March 15, 2004

I'm a zeta male.

.
Tuesday, March 16, 2004

I'd suggest removing your pants and bellowing at him as he codes, all the while thrusting your chest outwards and hopping menacingly.

At the very least, it'll destract him enough that his work will suffer and you'll be able to undermine his authority.

Jimmy Jo-jo
Tuesday, March 16, 2004

Sigh... that should read "distract".

Jimmy Jo-jo
Tuesday, March 16, 2004

You should look upon it as an opportunity to learn not to be such a pig-headed twat, and learn how to create a constructive working relationship with equals.

Alpha dogs indeed. You twat.

Mr Jack
Tuesday, March 16, 2004

Im in agreement with the 'twat' comment personally.

alpha twat IMO

FullNameRequired
Tuesday, March 16, 2004

although the suggestion about beting your chest and hopping around aggressively while he codes is also a good one, I hope you give it the consideration it deserves.

FullNameRequired
Tuesday, March 16, 2004

> Alpha male is a crap term for an individual (male or female really) who is a born leader type but has no leadership skills

Stop talking about me Aussie Chick, I'll start to think you fancy me or something ;-)

I'm lucky in that I realised a long time ago that I don't have any desire to lead teams/projects/whatever. All I have to do is convince management of that fact. Every time I start a new job *sigh*


Tuesday, March 16, 2004

"Stop talking about me Aussie Chick, I'll start to think you fancy me or something ;-)"

she fancies me, not you. Im cuter and much funnier.

there can be only one
Tuesday, March 16, 2004

I'd bet she doesn't fancy any of you.

d:

I certainly don't.

Bleh
Tuesday, March 16, 2004

Mr Jack, you made me laugh. 'Twat' what a cool word.
So meaningful, and yet it is hard to be angry at someone who used the word 'Twat'.

As for the rest of you....Well I am just picturing a pack of dogs urinating every where, and frankly that just does nothing for me.

Aussie Chick
Wednesday, March 17, 2004

I know we hate managers but...

Has anyone stopped to think that the manager might just be trying to find the real leader?  From what we read, he has 2 egotistical w*ers and he may not be able to get past the bullshit.  Putting the two of them together might just sort it out for him.

David

David Freeman
Wednesday, March 17, 2004

Maybe he's trying to assassinate them by leaving them in a room together for a few hours.

Fernanda Stickpot
Wednesday, March 17, 2004

> she fancies me, not you. Im cuter and much funnier.

Maybe, but are you hung like a donkey?




No, me either. Okay, you win.


Wednesday, March 17, 2004

(With prior apologies to Aussie Chick)

"Mr Jack, you made me laugh. 'Twat' what a cool word.
So meaningful, and yet it is hard to be angry at someone who used the word 'Twat'."

See! She fancies me - not you looosers.

Mr Jack
Wednesday, March 17, 2004

"See! She fancies me - not you looosers."


drat! I use that word as well sometimes.

honestly.

it seems so arbitary.

I hope you are both very happy.

there can be only one
Wednesday, March 17, 2004

Let's drop the term 'alpha male'.  What we have here are two strongly opinionated and talented programmers who happen to have little common ground in style.  There is nothing wrong with that, and there is nothing wrong with wanting to improve ones work situation.

My first suggestion is to talk to your manager.  He's the one who made the decision to put you two together, so he's the only one who can change that.  It might be interesting to hear why he made the decision in the first place.  Maybe he thought his two best programmers would love to work together?  :)

Failing that, find a way to split up the work.  Is this a client server app?  Have one guy do the GUI and the other the server.  That sort of thing.

Matt
Wednesday, March 17, 2004

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