Monday, August 11, 2008

A Note on Web Site Team Building

It is the month of August and we have not spoken about the aspects of managing a website in quite some time, so let's dig into a nice juicy subject in the summer heat...this subject - like the summer swelter - is sticky like all juicy subjects of great import.

Our web architect is on vacation in darkest Africa on Safari and our team of developers and front end designers is back-filling his responsibilities with exceptional insight and capability.

But what do you do as a CEO when the team wants to explore a big development item while the team leader is gone? The potential rewards of tackling such an item are extremely enticing, and yet the potential negative repercussions in terms of lost time and lack of situational awareness are very real.

As a Marine, I was trained to believe in decentralizing authority so that decisions could be made by the rifleman at the point in the face of an ever-changing enemy when the boss was not available for orders....or more likely was dead. May seem like unrelated training at Local Motors until right now :)















("Point Man", www.25thida.com)


So in our case, the leader is not dead (though safari is no doubt challenging) however he is unreachable, not able to see the problems developing today, and his team - back at the LM "ranch" - are met with some fairly noticeable bugs on the site, a few unsatisfied users, and an increasing "product backlog" (a list of new things that we want to achieve for our users).

Being independent thinkers, our team has come up with some excellent code-based solutions to improve some of the issues at hand, but they could mean major changes to the site - and worse unpredicted difficulty.

They have asked for permission to explore them, and now I must decide.

I have consulted the entire team, reached out to our advisors, had the team speak to one of the advisors, and now am parsing the data in order to make a timely decision.

This is clearly an issue of code development, but perhaps more I believe it to be a Team Building exercise whose lessons will be felt long beyond even the benefits we anticipate receiving if we pursue the big development item.

So, I am all ears. What would you do if you were me? Tomorrow, I will give you an update as to what we decide.

8 comments:

Andrew Cronk said...

I think refactoring is an important part of software development.

Hindsight is 20/20, and you always see better ways of doing things when looking back at old code and implementations.

It's a time investment that will exponentially drag you down until you address it. If you have new blood on the team who is actually excited to refactor, then go for it. Untangle the spaghetti.

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