I am The Erstwhile Developer

Posted on July 2nd, 2015 by The Erstwhile Developer

It's been about 2 years since I wrote any code in anger. As a development team lead I'm far more likely to be working on developing a backlog than coding tasks and subtasks from the left to the right side of the rapid board. Until recently this hadn't really bothered me, I new that being a lead meant less coding and was comfortable with that trade off, it was part of my career development after all. 

That all changed recently when switch onto a new team, one that required me to take a far more active role in the development process. To start with I relished the idea of getting back into development, but when I started picking through the new and unfamiliar codebase I realised that things had moved on significantly and I was no longer the fountain of knowledge that I had once been.

It's disconcerting to realise that the skills and technicques that you once held most dear have become dull and inaffectual. You could argue that as a leader I might not need to rely upon those skills anymore but I'm not so sure. I feel that as a leader it can be incredibly useful to retain and continue to develop those skills in the best interests of the wider team.

As a development team lead I want to be able to identify and remove problems for my team before they become roadblocks. This gives me the maximum chance of making the team succesful and productive. A lot of that can be achieved by looking at the projects we're working on and using my judgement, experience and communication skills to man handle issues out of the way. But there are a lot of situations where the team would benefit from some more hands on technical leadership. Not from the lead sitting down to code for them, but rather in being available to discuss problems, processes and techniques in depth. Right now I'm falling short of being able to supply this.

This means some serious time at the grindstone in order to re-hone my skills. I need to get back to the point that they are once more something that I can rely upon daily, even if I'm not writing code every day, I need to be able to code with the best of them in order to give my team the best chance for success. 

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