The biggest problem?

By Bruno Souza | life

Mar 08

“Do you know what is the biggest problem of our software development industry?”

It was a rhetorical question. I was lunching with one of the top minds of the IT industry in Brazil. Developer, University Professor, multi-Entrepreneur, Investor, Author… Silvio Meira has done it all, and is happy to share his knowledge.

Silvio has a full system view of things. He dives deep to understand the relationship between all parts, and where the real issues are. That’s how he created one of the most successful innovation centers in the country. It is not by chance that he was named a top 100 influential person in the IT industry in Brazil.

We had already ordered the bill. There were just a few minutes left in the conversation… How come he would bring this complex and amazingly important topic, right now? I felt a bit of dismay that we would have no time to discuss his answer in any detail…

You see, I spent my career helping developers to improve their projects and their own careers. Knowing the biggest problem of our industry, that’s the holly grail to focus the efforts on the right things! I waited Silvio to answer his own question, while secretly hoping the waiter would forget we were there…

The answer was surprisingly short…

“The biggest problem is the lack of leadership”, Silvio said.

And he went on: “not lack of people that tell others what to do, that we have plenty! But the lack of people willing to take responsibility. For their projects, their careers and even their lives…”

So simple. And yet, soooo complex…

First rule of leadership: Everything is your fault.
Hopper, A Bug’s Life

Taking responsibility is the highest mark of great leaders. But taking responsibility is far too many things… It is not blaming others for our failures. Is being honest with ourselves. It is seeing clearly our shortcomings and mistakes. And it is pushing on, besides all that!

And what this has to do with code? Everything… Great developers take responsibility for the code they write. Take responsibility for the impact they create in the business they are in. Take responsibility for the results customers get from the software they code.

Coding is not about typing cryptic characters in a fancy editor. Coding is about solving problems and making decisions. Great leaders make decisions. Great developers are leaders. Of their team. Of their companies. Of their code.

How are we going to solve the biggest problem?

Simple. Great developers take responsibility.

Never doubt that a thoughtful, committed individual can change the world. Indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.
Margaret Mead

And this is how it all started…


About the Author

Since 1995 Bruno helps professional software developers to grow their career to senior level and beyond, so they work on cool projects with great people!