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CODING TEAM THEORY: Over Helping 🆘

“Strong people don't put others down... They lift them up.”
― Michael P. Watson

· team,coding

Collaboration among teammates is a natural and expected part of the development process.

Over Helping is the pattern whereby one developer spends unnatural amounts of time helping another developer to get their work across the line.

Engineer One submits. Engineer Two cleans it up🧹, over and over again.

The problem is threefold:

(1) always cleaning someone else’s work takes away from one’s own assignments,

(2) it impairs the original author’s efforts toward true independent mastery,

(3) it can overburden the helper and leave the original author in a continuous unnatural waiting state

HOW TO RECOGNIZE IT

Look for reoccurring, last minute corrections between the same two people.

You’ll notice these two consistently review each other’s work.

This behavior can be perfectly healthy and expected when in a mentorship type situation👨‍🏫.

But beyond a certain point, the passing of responsibility is in order🔄.

WHAT TO DO

Bring additional engineers into the code review process.

Assign the senior engineer a very challenging project👨‍💻 consuming his time preventing him to review his colleague's work.

As he is showing natural leadership and coaching tendencies, look for opportunities to feed this more broadly to the whole team.

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