I want to respond to the AltDevBlogADay post Negative Developers and Team Stability, which hit home. It’s not that I think the advice was particularly interesting (all good, standard stuff), it’s that it reminded be that I’ve been a negative developer.
I don’t know what I could have done differently. I just wasn’t happy at work, and there was little I could do to change it. The quality of my work was apparently very good, I was just terrible for morale, because I was either 1) pissing people off or 2) encouraging people to be pissed off at the problems I/we saw. Eventually I got the best advice I’ve ever gotten (which deserves its own blog post), and left the company. I went to the right place and became a positive developer.
And that’s sort of what struck me about the article and about how we typically deal with negative developers. Some developers are just not a good fit, regardless of how amazing their work is. If someone is negative because she is “culturally incompatible”, because there’s nothing you or your manager can do to fix it. And it is worth it to have a frank discussion about whether that person can ever be happy without changes to the studio, and if that person says ‘no’, you should discuss plans to part with mutual respect at a mutually agreed date.
I had to put in my two weeks at my last job to have this advice given to me by the President (GM? Can’t remember) at the time. It convinced me to un-quit, and to stay on another year. It ended up being a miserable year in many ways, but it was the right thing to do and worked out for the best. As managers- and friends and team members of negative developers- we need to keep this advice in mind when dealing with negative developers (and ourselves).