Working with a team of developers

For the last three months, I’ve been working at a web startup that’s building a social network service for events (i.e. concerts, parties, pretty much anything that has a place, date and time).

Perhaps one of the most enlightening experience I’ve had is the chance to work alongside two other excellent Ruby on Rails developers.

Now I’ve been part of cross-disciplinary teams before where there’s maybe a graphics guy, a marketing guy, a video/motion guy, and finally a web/tech guy which invariably ends up being me. Either that, or I’d slog it out alone on some pet project as the sole developer.

But working alongside fellow developers is different. Because I’m part of a team of three, and the other two are super-competent, I feel like I’m producing 3 times the amount of work for every unit of work that I put in. It’s the same feeling you get when you chant along at a thousand-strong sports match, or you when you sing along to a song playing through your earphones. Tiny, insignificant input, absolutely awesome output*.

So I’d spend two days working on a commenting feature on the site, but in those very two days, a new search feature and a swanky Google Maps feature was added to the site. 1 unit work, 3 units value produces.

Then again, isn’t that the reason why I became a software developer? To write lines of code that have the potential of infinite value.

*Though there’s also much to be said about being part of a team where 3 units of effort gets whittled down to 1 unit of value (or even less) because you’re having to clean up after the incompetencies of your colleagues. Not today. Life’s good.