Mark is a graph advocate and field engineer for Neo Technology, the company behind the Neo4j graph database. As a field engineer, Mark helps customers embrace graph data and Neo4j building sophisticated solutions to challenging data problems. When he's not with customers Mark is a developer on Neo4j and writes his experiences of being a graphista on a popular blog at He tweets at @markhneedham. Mark is a DZone MVB and is not an employee of DZone and has posted 553 posts at DZone. You can read more from them at their website. View Full User Profile

Tech Leading: Keeping the passion

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As I mentioned a couple of months ago, while I was in India I was acting as the Tech Lead on the project the TWU grads were working on and one thing I learnt from doing that is the importance of trying to keep the passion of the developers on the team.

When we started off I was more focused on trying to encourage the team to try and develop as many of the stories as possible.

This meant that on one occasion when one of the developers was really keen to try something out which he thought would make our life easier I overruled him in favour of working on a story that more directly contributed to what we were trying to do.

Luckily he didn’t get dissuaded by me doing that and a few days later he again asked if he could explore that avenue as he was convinced it would be useful.

We decided that it would be worth trying for the rest of the day and it was noticeable that he was significantly more pumped up/enthusiastic on most things that he worked on after that.

I appreciate that I was in an unusual situation where the output of the project came second to the learning of the participants but I still feel like there is something to be said for helping encourage and keep the passion of people on our teams.

It will mean sacrificing a bit of short term productivity, but if it means that the person has satisfied their curiosity about the viability of a bit of technology or even better has solved a problem for the team by doing so then it might be worth it.

As I found out it’s much easier to knock someone back and you have justification to do so because what they want to do isn’t directly on the value path of what’s being paid for but that might not be the best decision if you look at the whole!

I’d be curious to hear the opinions of people who have played the tech lead role frequently because my observations are only based on a short stint and from being on the other side of the equation!



Published at DZone with permission of Mark Needham, author and DZone MVB.

(Note: Opinions expressed in this article and its replies are the opinions of their respective authors and not those of DZone, Inc.)


Sirikant Noori replied on Sun, 2012/01/15 - 12:27pm

Interesting point.

I've experienced pushy pressure in same role as a consultant, and also that kind of issue with a team member.

I think it's worth giving some room to passionate developers whom are able to solve project tasks in a agile and acceptable way.

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