Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares. What the heck does *that* have to do with anything? Well, for starter's it's called "Den elaka kocken" in Swedish, and I see no reason to call it "The mean chef" really. The guy is not at all mean. In fact, he really does these people a kindness others have never before shown them. He tells them the truth about themselves and what they are doing, he gives them perspective, insight, and help. But again, what is this all about? John! You scream, why-ever would you bring up a TV show in your blog? Well, let's get ready for a ride.
The basic idea of the show is that Mr Ramsay is suppose to help a restaurant and its owner get back on track. The thing is, apparently, the owners and staff doesn't always seem to get out of their established, and quite frightfully bad, ways of doing things. They oppose the quite sound advice of someone who clearly has succeeded better than they. The bright lot of you should by now have an idea where I am going with this. And if not, good luck at the show when you can. It was quite entertaining:)
So, does this sound familiar? Can you draw some parallels with another certain industry? Yes you can. Countless are the times I've had to endure a young whippersnapper trying to tell me that I am wrong about it all and that surely isn't right and you should just chucked all of that stuff out and I know that this and that technology is useless and this other one surely is the way to go, blah blah blah. You know the drill, right? I've got nothing against new ideas, nor being proven wrong. But step one will always be to gain my respect. Listening to someone with more experience than yourself, and take in what she or he says, before starting to complain and wanting to change things, are a good way to to gain my respect. So is proving that you yourself has experience and talent.
But I got side tracked (blog, why blog, why not webbump? web brain dump:) ). The idea stuck me while I was watching the show. This is exactly what a lot of software companies need. They are going about making software in the complete wrong way, and no languages, development philosophies, nor restructures can help me. Hiring even more people will definitely screw them over. So what do they need? They need someone to come in, open up their eyes, and give them some tough love, some sour medicine, some understanding of what they do, and most importantly of it all. Guidance and help to bring them onto the right track again.
I don't want to lessen what Mr Ramsay does in his show, but getting a bunch of Grinch like software engineers to see the error of their ways is seldom an easy task. Nor is it to upset a bunch of frighten school children, I mean managers, nor a number of Scrooge McDuck copies in upper management. Especially from the inside. It is an eternal uphill battle, fought tooth and nail from a position of close to no power, with the only tools to your disposal being your perseverance and your believe in there being a better way.
Not that this is anything new under the sun, but that show just really hit a note in me. What if one would do exactly that, but in a software company? I think that it would be totally great, and oddly enough, I would want to do it. I could imagine myself being that very person, going in there, screaming and muttering and pointing things out, only to have people miss me when they understand how much better it can be. How stress, missing bits and pieces, chaos, and a lack of fulfillment doesn't need to be the standard operating procedure in a company.
So with this, slightly confused professor like, rant I will leave you to think, comment, and maybe blog yourself, on this very broad subject. It is not just what you do, but how you do it!