I’ve been managing an engineering team in a small company for six years. Over this time the team has matured, along with the product, and our practices have become more and more formal. In the early years there was a strong push to disregard long-term concerns for short-term gains, a practice I supported with eyes wide open.
Approximately nine months ago, the engineering team met with the CEO and other management decided to commit to three changes that would reduce the impact of these long-term concerns. Yesterday I was told by our CEO to stop doing two of these three things and I’d like some advice regarding how to respond (which I need to do Monday :) ).
The first item our CEO has asked is that we stop pair programming, which is the practice of having two developers working on code at the same time. The concept is that working together will improve application knowledge and reduce bugs. This is a request I have less of a problem with. From my listening to manager’s tools I think my role is to inform the CEO of the pros and cons of such a change. I also think that the process we have in place will provide feedback as to the effectiveness of the change. Am I responding appropriately?
The second item I just can’t wrap my head around and I could really use some advice. Nine months ago, when the team approached the CEO, one of the conditions was that they just couldn’t work with another person on our team. This person is a friend of all of the C level executives, including myself, but I recognize his inappropriate interactions, lack of professionalism and that he genuinely isn’t happy working with others. It was decided that he leave the company, but in the last minute another C level exec chose to have this person report to him. On a team, this engineer is unprofessional, poisonous, and insubordinate. To-date he has been productive because the CEO sits in his office and works over his shoulder. Now I’ve been told that he must be a contributing member of the engineering team again. I’m pretty sure this will result in one or two of our engineers leaving the company.
My options seem to be: 1. suck it up and do as is requested. 2. set some conditions for him joining the team, such as a) him reporting to me b) him shouldering some of the more difficult work that he refuses to do c) him follow the process we’ve agreed upon as a team etc. 3. out right refuse to allow him back on the team (fortunately I can leave the company without my personal life suffering).
It strikes me that the team I’ve worked so hard to build is being asked to make changes I myself would never stick around for.
Thank you very much for your help and resources!