Golden Goose: Top Lessons I Learned Working With A 10X Developer
Whenever I talk to managers about their software struggles, the mention of a 10X developer is a given- the developer who is ten times more efficient than the average developer on a team. This mention is often lined with an air of their almost-mythical existence. Do they even exist? Can they fix my problems? Where and how do you find one?
Having had the opportunity of working with a 10X developer, I can attest that they are not just real but also live up to their fame. This developer, let’s call them X, read codes like X-rays and almost always had the perfect solution to any given problem. And these were not just problems that we reported, but even problems we didn’t know existed.
Every team needs a 10X developer, but unfortunately, every team is not ready for one. While such developers seem like they are a one-man show, they can only be as good as their team. Here are some lessons from my experience that might help you gain clarity:
1. Efficiency is the word: More than the ability to perform a task fast and with minimal wastage, efficiency is about doing things the right way. A 10X understands this. The efficiency of their codes does not necessarily lie in their length but function. This value for efficiency is often reflected in other areas of their conduct as well, which could require some catching-up on part of you and your team. This is a brilliant opportunity to facilitate a healthy change within your team, so make the most of it.
2. They help the team grow: A 10X is not just an asset because they know so much, but also because the team has so much to learn from them. They could prove to be excellent models that help the whole team enhance their performance and efficiency.
As managers, our role is to encourage an environment that is conducive to learning. Those who require help should feel free to ask for it, and those who can help should be encouraged to share, regardless of their hierarchy within the organization.
3. Get comfortable with feedback: Building a team that is open to feedback and criticisms is generally a good piece of managerial advice, but it’s even more essential when it comes to working with a 10X developer. As I mentioned earlier, not only did X help us resolve issues we knew we were facing, they could also address the issues we were blissfully unaware of. It is never an easy process to realize that your codes are messy, but utilize their insight to fix things rather than getting defensive or disheartened.
4. Remain patient and professional: This advice is not just for the managers, but also for the colleagues as well as the 10X developers. There is no doubt that every manager would like their team to grow into experts, and every professional would like to be one. However, every software professional comes with their respective strengths and capabilities and they need to be respected for it. Having a 10X on your team should inspire you and your team to grow, but it should not result in unfair comparisons and unprofessional behavior.
5. Don’t make it a one-man show: Do not make one developer responsible for the success of the whole team. Not only does this overburden your 10X, opening the gates to resentment, it also stagnates the growth of other team members and makes them increasingly complacent.
It is important that you do not put them on a pedestal where they are flawless and cover up or ignore their errors. You can respect their talent while holding them accountable, just like everyone else on the team.
An Opportunity for Growth
Ever since the dawn of IT, developers have been seen to possess superpowers that can make magic happen on our screens. Working with a 10X can make this statement seem more true than false. They seemingly know everything about everything and can devise codes that put the greatest works of art to shame.
But while they are every software company’s dream, a 10X is more than just a genie in a bottle. These developers present to us an amazing opportunity to grow our expertise, both as software professionals and team players. Beyond their vast technical expertise, many 10X developers can set excellent examples of punctuality and professionalism. Leverage their example to not just meet your goals but also elevate your team.