Beware of stinkers

Every project needs plodders

I’ve been debating this with co-workers. Do we really need plodders?

Up to your neck in mud

Serious Plodder

Let’s define ‘plodders’: These are the people who come to work to do their 9-5 thing and go home. They’ve got a job to do, and they’ll do it. No ambition to be better. No ambition for promotion.

Let’s see what are the benefits of a plodder

  1. Dependable – you know what to expect from them. Be it 5 lines of code or 10 apples.
  2. No need to worry how to keep them happy – just give them more of the same. They don’t want promotion. They don’t want ‘different’.
  3. As long as there is work – they are unlikely to quit

But there is a danger here. A plodder can easily become a s(t)inker. Someone who under performs. On the one hand, the company is getting what it is paying the plodder to do – his job. But my personal view is that I want my team to be made of non-plodders. I want to be challenged by my team. I want them to be hungry. Hungry for challenges, hungry for promotion and hungry for getting better.

Yes, I know that it means the ambitious type is more likely to quit looking for greener pastures. But what is management if not trying to provide your people with challenges and stretch their abilities, therefore giving them the greener pastures within the company/team?

I’d also like to introduce the semi-plodder. That person that doesn’t want to rule the world. She is content at being a programmer or tester and doesn’t want to be a team leader. She wants to do her 9 to 5 and go. But she wants to better herself professionally. To be the best programmer or tester. She will keep providing high quality work. That is a plodder I don’t mind having. On the contrary, this is the kind of person that gives the team a core stability.

The semi-plodder can be an important part of the team, providing you with all the benefits of the plodder, but with without the danger of turning a into sinker. Sometimes it is hard to distinguish the plodder from it’s better type – the semi-plodder.

So, how do you tell the sinking plodder from the semi? I’ve found I can tell them apart in a training session or when suggesting something new. A book to read maybe. One of them will get a spark in their eye. The other one won’t.

It is important to have the high-flyers and the semi-plodders. You’ll be challenged by both types, as both would strive to better themselves. Each in her own way. Just beware of stinkers


About snailonabike
I cycle, I run, I live, I have a family, I write code for a living, I have an opinion

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