Regardless of my skill (or lack thereof), I am a programmer and product developer. I am an integral piece of the R&D puzzle. It’s the actions of the other pieces of the same puzzle—taken gestalt—that purely fucking chaps my ass.
To me, the most disappointing aspect of “team” development is: Everyone else has a checklist. Get this done, check it off the list. Get that done, check it off the list. It does this, it does that, I’ve done my job.
Task-by-task, function-by-function, make it “work” with as little effort as possible, with abject disregard to the product as a whole, and jettison any regard for the users’ experience or convenience or expectation or anything. Fuck it… the product does shit.
Maybe I’m placing unfair, personal expectations upon my fellow coders. That could very well be true. Most of those guys are hardcore coders; they only know their microcosm of Linux kernel, user-space server daemon, or Python-related malloc bullshit. Maybe it’s completely unfair for me to assume and/or expect them to look at the “big picture” of the product when they haven’t been “directed” to do so, or are—by nature—incapable of doing so.
Actually, maybe that’s why my role as “programmer” and “product developer” exists in the first place. Hrm… after bitching (and thinking) about it… that’s exactly where I fit.
I’m the picker-upper. It’s my job to take their back-end code and dismal attempts at user interface, and make it all nice and pretty… and ultimately “user-friendly”… like I have an idea what that is.
Epiphany aside… I’m still fed up that it takes me three hours and three visits to three different co-workers’ offices to find out exactly how I have to get my cold-started development machine to a state where I can actually write some code and “develop” some shit.
Geek-harbored tribal knowledge about undocumented and unregistered package dependencies, a raft of build servers and various Debian mirrors, and mystery gcc errors because I didn’t check out a certain package from CVS/SVN at the same level as the one I’m working on…
… is a motherfucker.