I Love Cowboy Coding, But I Don’t Run Wild West Teams

March 2, 2010

I love being a cowboy coder. It feels great. Just the thought of dreaming up a new feature, coding late into the night, and unveiling it to the astonishment of the rest of my team makes my heart beat a little faster. I love it so much that I once joined a company made up entirely of cowboy coders.

Everyone in our team floated around in every direction. Sometimes we floated into great new features and sometimes we ran into each other and crashed. The freedom to do whatever I wanted was intoxicating, and it lasted for about a year and a half.

After the first 18 months we had created a somewhat disorganized 1.0 release and almost half the team had quit. They quit because they were the losers of some epic power struggles. The whole team was competing against itself. We were also creating a huge number of features that nobody wanted to maintain. The worst part was that every feature was understood by exactly one person. When that person left the feature had to be maintained and enhanced by people who had never seen the code. We were a closed team where everybody focused on their own code and not much else.

I still love cowboy code, but now I understand the cost: high turnover, unsupportable code, and a team without teamwork. The results of running your team like the Wild West aren’t pretty. This is why I push for open teams. Wild West teams never last. http://credit-n.ru http://credit-n.ru/offers-zaim/greenmoney-online-zaymi-za-20-minut.html

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