I work with a group of very intelligent people. It’s nice. My co-workers also have long memories of who wrote what code and they are quick to give credit to people who no longer work here.
Unfortunately, people can also be quick to be frustrated with and blame co-workers who are no longer working here for code that they originally wrote which appears to be bad. (Sometimes people speak too soon, sometimes people don’t speak up soon enough … How very Zen and noncommittal of me to make this comment.)
What I would like to do is this …
I am going to bring in a stuffed animal to work and name it Brad (my name). Also possibly a few others for co-workers who have left and there is a lot of code that is in use that is still seen as “theirs” more than anyone else’s (like the current maintainers).
I will get people in the habit of addressing these stuffed animals by name so that the names will be instilled in everyone’s brains.
Then, sometime down the line, a new person will arrive.
The new person will be learning about this and that and will eventually hear a co-worker say, “oh that’s Brad’s code … No, he has a mistake in that area with threads. You have to watch out. You have to make sure YOU’RE thread safe because Brad’s not thread safe.” (Some coders I have worked with also have the habit of using someone’s name in place of the name of the function/class/whatever code thing you are looking at.)
The new person will wonder, “who is Brad?”
Then, a few days later perhaps the co-worker will ask the keeper of the stuffed animals, “mind if I ask … what’s up with the stuffed animals?”
And hopefully, from wherever I am at that moment, I will magically sense that I should be laughing, because the new guy now thinks the co-workers who are prone to blaming are abso-freaking-lutely nuts.
It’s all about the little joys in life. And plush stuffed animals named Brad. Who are bad about threading issues.
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