Is an ex-developer now customer your worst nightmare?
A few months ago I sat at a hotel bar sharing breakfast with some friends at a PHP conference. They asked me if I missed coding at all and if being the customer is fun and I said I wasn’t sure if my development background makes me a heavenly or hellish customer.
“Well, once you lose touch you will be a pain in the arse.” was the reply.
You may know this situation. Your boss or your client was an active developer years ago and wants to get involved in all the details all the time without any knowledge about the current technology. Instead of trusting you to do your job properly there is this tendency to fatherly guidance showing the youths how things are done letting you benefit from their experience. An experience which is probably outdated.
This reply stuck with me for some time now and I observed myself every now and then to check wether I act the same way or not. Well in the end the developers I work with have to give the final answer but I don’t think I went to far.
I think offering yourself as a sparring partner but not forcing your experience onto others is a good way. What I always try to make clear is that I can not and will not make any technological decision as it is not my responsibility. But if my opinion is asked for I happily share it no matter if it has any impact.
I guess have lost touch to development already. However I remember enough to understand complexity and information architectures and to be honest that’s all I cared for for quite a while now. I’m not interested in the code behind.
No idea if I’m a customer from hell to some. I hope not.