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I looked back at my old blogs – and think about all there is to write about now!   There are many, many, running through my head.  There just isn’t enough time in the day!

h3. Just a developer?!

What has changed?  We could count the ways.  But let’s not.  There really haven’t been any radical changes.  We have more development tools at our disposal.  We have to be knowledgeable about what is available and when we should use it.   Oh, so I said I had to be knowledgeable.  Did I say that out loud? Silly me.

The real world, there are some, not all, people that feel the business analyst not the developer should determine what development tool to use when.   Let’s repeat the title B-U-S-I-N-E-S-S  analyst.  Now would I go tell the business analyst that she should be configuring field xyz different, and maybe this should be master data instead of configuration?   NO!  Why?  Because although I have limited knowledge of configuration.  Do I have knowledge?  Duh.  Yes.  We have to be knowledgeable to develop with SAP instead of against it.  So although I have limited configuration knowledge, I know that 99 times out of a 100, the business analyst will configure the solution better than I.  That one time, I’ll ask about why she did what.

But the reverse!   The reverse thinking is not true.  Will the  analyst who knows a little or a lot about what is out there will simply debate or suggest what to use? No they will do the actual T-E-C-H-N-I-C-A-L design.   Really?  What a strange world I live in.   I keep looking around for the cameras and the person to say “Smile you are on candid camera”.  (An old TV show where there was a joke being played on the person.)

So what makes you think you know enough about development to tell us exactly what to use when?  Why don’t we talk about it.  I may have some tricks you don’t even know about!

You want to design really?  Even if we let you do the technical design, why would you have to know about the business functions / processes?    Why do they want to be included in the functional design?  We really don’t need them there.  We know enough about the technology and the business to write excellent specifications.  All the developer has to do is follow the specifications!  If they were any good and wanted to design they would change jobs and be a business analyst!

h3. Hold on for a ride!

I can already tell this blog is going to go round and round in circles – so if you are going to read all this,  hold on your going for a long ride!

h3. Development is fun! Maybe? Sometimes?      Really?

I LOVE to develop.  I LOVE to work with the business and help develop the solution.  And – little print here – I love to know the process.  I love to know how my little piece fits into the whole. 

My enjoyment is, yes, the final product.  I love to know the final product is being used.  But like everyone else I’m human.  I want to be involved in the design of the final product.  It’s hard to keep hearing “the dime a dozen programmer” comment.  Why?  Because then it sounds as if anyone could do my job.  I want to think that not everyone could do my job.  And I KNOW not everyone could do my job.    So, hey, knock, knock – WAKE Up!   I’ll stand up on a chair.  Can you see me NOW?  I am a person and not a mindless drone.  NOT EVERYONE CAN DO MY JOB.  Or your job if you are a developer.  If you are a Taxi driver , I sure couldn’t do your job.

* A*nd that’s the whole problem!  Now and with my last rant!  Remember Developer’s are a dime a dozen.  They obviously could never understand the functional side.   Shoot we may not even need them.  About ‘Embracing Inclusion to Drive Innovation’.   And if the developer is any good their not a developer anymore they’ve moved to a different job.  Right?SO – Receiving Poor Feedback – does this make me whiny.  Another blog I’ve read recently.  Or does that make me a “would-be” agent of change?  I guess it depends on which side of the argument you are on.

Did you read my Just a developer?!?  Does this one sound more subdued?  Yes, this time it is.  I have been in a lot of areas where functionally I have no idea what is going on.  I have learned the value of having that functional person.     I am knee deep in new technology and new ideas.  I still keep up with my “old” process areas.  I’m too curious not to.   And someday, well, someday hopefully, I’ll get to do a project in on of them.  I guess that could be bad if I ended up with a non-cool functional person.  We would clash a lot and that just isn’t good.

If you got all the way down here!  Oh my Gosh!  You are good.   It’s all way too long for one blog.  But it all fell into one blog.  So there you have it.  The person that writes long comments.  WRITES HUGE BLOGs – but only sometimes!

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  1. Alvaro Tejada Galindo
    Michelle:

    It was hard…but I managed to read your whole blog -;)
    It’s really funny when I hear that kind of comments…”Anyone can code now…you have Ruby, XCode and a lot of tools”…nice…I could ask my Grand-mother to build me an IPhone application…after all…anyone can code, right?
    Maybe you don’t know this…but in South America, developers are the weakest link…barely the worst payed in the IT arena…if you’re a developer, maybe you didn’t have enough brains to study something better…pretty depressing if you ask me…here in Canada (As I live here, I can talk about it), it’s the other way around…being a developer is something weird, awesome, reserved to the very smart people (or Nerds maybe)…the real fact is that being a developer is not an easy job at all…you just can’t know only one programming language…that’s now enough at all…you need to know at least 3, because the other 2 might come in handy some day…and while it’s true that if you know one programming languages, the other ones are easier to learn, you have to learn very different syntax and environments…ABAP is not the same as Python and Python is not the same as Flex…

    I remember once, where the Functional guy build a pretty complex GUI interface using Power Builder and told me…”Ok, I need this on ABAP”…I’m not going to say here what I think of him at that point…the thing is that I manage to build it exactly like he wanted using Dynpro and a lot of suffering…but…that wasn’t enough…he was walking down the street and *POW* he had a new idea for the GUI…so I need to modify it…he was drinking his coffee and *POW*, another idea…that include changing half the GUI…and I need to did it because my boss at that time was busy making money out of me to tell the guy, please have a final GUI and stop fooling around…

    Anyway…I love being a developer…I guess I born to be like that…not anyone can be a developer…I have meet several people that spend countless hours trying to learn how to code, and never did it…because it doesn’t only take brains…it takes brains, passion and a high level ability to overcome frustration -:)

    Just a developer? Not me…I’m “The” developer -;)

    Greetigns,
    Blag.

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    1. Craig S
      From the other side:  I had to chuckle about your example and having to make multiple changes.  I know I have done that several times to developers over the years.

      But unfortunately we (analysts) don’t always have all the answers right up front contrary to what we try to make you believe.  🙂 

      Sometimes, changes are driven by the developers themselves.  They do a really great job and add in a feature that maybe wasn’t asked for and that leads to more requests or changes.  Gee.. if you can do that why not…..

      Sometimes when we actually get the final product and do testing, we discover a combination of events or occurrences that weren’t anticipated.  Especially when applied to the ‘real” world and not the ‘ideal’ world envisioned during design. 

      Often times the specifications are written in collaboration with end users who don’t really understand SAP at all and have never even logged in.  Design docs are asked for so early in projects that changes are inevitable once users actually start interacting with the system in qualification and user acceptance testing. 

      I had one client where the power users and trainers logged in for the first time during user acceptance testing!!!!  And like any new program, what you think is going to look good on a screen stinks.

      The analyst/consultant has a fine line to walk between not ticking off their developers and getting the best solution for their business users while competing for similar resources with other functional areas.

      FF

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      1. Michelle Crapo Post author
        Boy – do I work with you?  Yes, that’s it exactly.  When I work with a fun person.  We feed off of each other.  I can do this, and you ask can you do that, and I say yes, and I can also…  Oh that perfect state.  When the requirements are being worked on from both sides.

        The flip side.  I can do this.  And so – you walk away and want that + this + the other thing, and you wanted it yesterday.  Then – you are no longer my favorite person to work with.  But I do understand.  We have limited resources.  When you have a resource, developer, and you have them for a certain time frame, you may try to get as much as possible from them.

        I know our business realizes that we don’t get to enhancements very fast.  We prioritize them with our current projects and they always fall down the list.  So they try to sneak in all the enhancements that they can in the current project.  That way they actually get them.

        Yes, we change all the time!We are used to it.   The difference between liking you a lot, and grumbling about impossible things.

        I love it!

        Michelle

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    2. Michelle Crapo Post author
      Hi Blag!

      I’m happy this night.  Your example, of course, reminds me of the fun times when I work with someone like that.  Totally uncaring or unknowing how long it takes to program.

      I can’t believe you got to the end – I did say you could skip the rest and go right to comments!

      You are THE Developer!

      BR,

      Michelle

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    3. Michelle Crapo Post author
      By the way – I did not know that about South America.  I’m learning about different cultures today.  Developers are paid differently here in USA.  It depends on the technology, the supply, the demand.   But we were never considered the lowest of the low to my knowledge.  We are just not as good as the business anaylst.  We just do something different than they do.

      I’m a developer.  My title right now “Applications Engineer”.  Now doesn’t that sound impressive?  Very strange to me.

      So low on the food chain.  No BUT… But unfortunately I have heard these words many times over.  “Anyone can do it.”    How depressing who wants to know that anyone could do their job.

      Lowest of the low – I’m impressed you decided to develop.  And I’m VERY happy you landed in Canada!

      You rate two comments – as I decided I had more to say.

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  2. Craig S
    You’ve hit on a pet peeve of mine as well.  But I guess I’m on the other side.  Call me a business analyst, functional consultant, configurator, technical consulant, whatever…

    You don’t know how much I love to have a knowledgable and interested developer on my projects. Invariably there is only one of them. Becasue usually the rest are overseas or brought in for 6 month tours of duty.

    One of my favorite things is to sit with a developer and explain the process and need for the development and get their inputs.  Some of the best solutions over the years have come from that. When the developer understands the importance of a customization/report/interface etc.is only then that they take ownership and pride in the final delivered solution.

    Unfortunately, I usually don’t get that.  Usaully I’m critized I didn’t write a tight enough spec.  I didn’t write down every error code that would ever happen ever.. (“Oh you expected an error message if they typed in an incorrect material number?  You didn’t write that.  You mean I should check to see if its a valid plant ID for the selection field?  You didn’t write that”)

    Having mostly contracted developers or outsourced shops only ensures that the developer will rarely take the time and pride in a development that an on-site team member and//or employee would have. And often, even on the same project, you never get the same developer twice!!!  There are exceptions to this of course and I have run in many, (ok.. several.. alright, 3 or 4 really) great contract developers worth way more than that person actually was reimbursed by their firm.

    So after awhile we get jaded and discouraged working with developers.  So sometimes I may just need an indication that you really want to understand and partner with me on a development and not just take my spec at face value.

    FF

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    1. Michelle Crapo Post author
      And I like this side.  I’m 100% sure I would like working with you too!  If my specs are that clean – 100% the way you want it, I feel like crying. Not really, but you know what I mean.  One of the “FUN” Parts of my job has disappeared.

      Thank you for the GREAT comment!

      Michelle

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  3. Bjorn Vilhjalmsson
    This is a very good topic and great points in the blog and comments.  Having been a developer team lead for almost a decade plus having worked as a functional, Basis and some other type roles I do believe I have a fairly good experience from my projects.  I make a distinction between Developer and programmer (hell I even define myself as a developer but I am just a rookie in programming with an experienced ABAPer running circles around me).  When I am working with a team that has some actual developers (someone creative, with knowledge or interest in the actual end result, passion to learn and has an open mind on how to solve things), that person gets to be involved in the design from the start.  The problem is that the ABAP world has so many programmers and not enough developers (in my experience, work a lot with offshoring) meaning that if the analysts and local developers don’t own the design and spec things up, you end up with something far from ideal.  Why is it that way?  Is it because ABAPers have been kept away from the design by analysts/functionals/architects/designers so they don’t become developers?  Does the programmers interest rest with the different coding parts and they don’t want to dig deeper? 

    Finding good developers and adding them to my team, working closely with them and sharing the design work with them is the ideal scenario, I agree that I thrive in that scenario whenever I manage to get into that but the bottleneck is often finding them. 

    Keep up the good work 🙂

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    1. Michelle Crapo Post author

      Finding them.  If you come up with a good way of doing that…  Well let me just say I would HUG you.  Even if it is a virtual hug.  We work long and hard to find a good developer.  When we find one (an independent where we can keep them without a whole consultant team) we try to keep them, by moving them from team to team.  So for us it is even hard to find them onshore.   But when we do, it’s great!

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      1. Kumud Singh
        Hello Michelle,
        You poked very hard.
        Offshore – do really no one cares about design?
        Offshore – wants to go to onsite only for money?
        No,No No No. 🙁
        Then why do we keep working late at nights to overlap with onsite timings to attend the design calls and ask questions.Why do we propose alternatives for a better solution.
        How about discomfort at onsite? Clients are very demanding and wants everything perfect in very short period of time. How do we tackle these situations? Had it been only for money no one would have taken these roles.
        People challenge their skills and grow by taking client facing roles.
        I am not sure but onsite-offshore model would never have been sustained so long and continued had it not delivered good results.
        Ok…lets say a project is not offshored , will someone be able to challenge that it would be better,future proof and perfect?
        Would the solution be acceptable given the cost incurred in that design?
        Even another take, would client be able to incur the cost of calling every team member onshore and get the work done?In that case you would get to know all the team members.

        Just my opinions and not meant to hurt anyone.

        Regards,
        Kumud

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        1. Michelle Crapo Post author
          Oh yes! I meant to poke hard. I needed some responses.

          Offshore – yes I think they care about design. The problem is (at least here) they aren’t part of the design. They get it second hand from their onsite technical lead. Do you have a different model?

          Offshore to onshore for money? That’s simply what I’ve heard. Why do you want to move to onshore? That’s a better question.

          Propose alternatives – OK again that’s not what has happened here. The poor off-shore guy is given specs where the code is practically written. Allowing them no creativity. That would drive me crazy.

          Clients are VERY DEMANDING. You are completely correct. More money? Again why did you take that role? I’d love to hear more.

          Challenge their skills and grow. Now that I can easily agree with. After seeing what is sent offshore. Again I would hate that job. Only my experience.

          Offshore – onsite model. Let’s talk about that a little too. My company pays less for offshore. But say the offshore takes 3 times as long for one task. Why? Because they don’t have access to the end user or the functional team. Or if they do it is limited access. I think this model will always work when companies are looking to cut cost.

          Now in the future – I believe the salaries between off-shore and onshore will level out. I also believe the skill level offshore will increase. I could be way wrong.

          Not offshore – will there be a better future proof and perfect? In my experience nothing is perfect when it goes into production. And yes, IN MY EXPERIENCE, it would be better. Why? We keep changing offshore resources. So maybe the better comment on my part is that development resources don’t change. If they are constantly changing – how can you expect the depth in the project? This could simply be they are switching firms in their home company.

          Onshore – Yes, usually we call all of our resources, and work closely with them. Maybe that is the problem with our offshore model. Of course, a lot of our offshore team does not speak English.

          If I hurt anyone, I am VERY sorry. That’s not what I meant to do.

          I meant to share personal experience. Also think in future worldwide terms that all salaries in all industries have to level out. Why? Because we will be competing against each other worldwide.

          I hope no one thinks that I think less of our offshore resources. I don’t. I think they are in a bad position of not knowing how to test the program because all they are given is the technical spec. No information on the functional side, no information on how to test, and then “poof” they are gone. On to a different firm, maybe a different project, what do I know?

          Thank you for the comments! I can tell they come from your heart.

          Mine – mine simply come from experience. AND I would love to be educated. Could you write a blog with your experiences? With others experiences?

          Thank you again! And again throwing everyone into the same mold, that is never a good idea. And that is what I did this morning. I am sorry. I should have been more careful by saying it was my experiences. Comments from other consultants that have moved onshore, etc.

          Michelle

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          1. Kumud Singh
            Hello Michelle,
            You need not be sorry at all.
            I got it the right way but just that my response came as there were many other comments by many different people to several other blogs where similar conversation was going on.
            Your blogs represent mindset of 90% (or may be greater than that) of the developers.Whatever I read in your blogs I can easily correlate them with the daily experiences.I often wonder how are you able to express your views in such a good manner.
            What you have said about working model too is correct in many scenarios. I cannot contradict the same.However,I think that is whole lot of big discussion.
            ‘Writing blog on my experience’..I can bet you know 80%(or might be >) of myself now.
            One more thing, I looked at your Klout pic. and loved the dogs.

            Regards,
            Kumud
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        2. Michelle Crapo Post author
          Oh yes! I meant to poke hard. I needed some responses.

          Offshore – yes I think they care about design. The problem is (at least here) they aren’t part of the design. They get it second hand from their onsite technical lead. Do you have a different model?

          Offshore to onshore for money? That’s simply what I’ve heard. Why do you want to move to onshore? That’s a better question.

          Propose alternatives – OK again that’s not what has happened here. The poor off-shore guy is given specs where the code is practically written. Allowing them no creativity. That would drive me crazy.

          Clients are VERY DEMANDING. You are completely correct. More money? Again why did you take that role? I’d love to hear more.

          Challenge their skills and grow. Now that I can easily agree with. After seeing what is sent offshore. Again I would hate that job. Only my experience.

          Offshore – onsite model. Let’s talk about that a little too. My company pays less for offshore. But say the offshore takes 3 times as long for one task. Why? Because they don’t have access to the end user or the functional team. Or if they do it is limited access. I think this model will always work when companies are looking to cut cost.

          Now in the future – I believe the salaries between off-shore and onshore will level out. I also believe the skill level offshore will increase. I could be way wrong.

          Not offshore – will there be a better future proof and perfect? In my experience nothing is perfect when it goes into production. And yes, IN MY EXPERIENCE, it would be better. Why? We keep changing offshore resources. So maybe the better comment on my part is that development resources don’t change. If they are constantly changing – how can you expect the depth in the project? This could simply be they are switching firms in their home company.

          Onshore – Yes, usually we call all of our resources, and work closely with them. Maybe that is the problem with our offshore model. Of course, a lot of our offshore team does not speak English.

          If I hurt anyone, I am VERY sorry. That’s not what I meant to do.

          I meant to share personal experience. Also think in future worldwide terms that all salaries in all industries have to level out. Why? Because we will be competing against each other worldwide.

          I hope no one thinks that I think less of our offshore resources. I don’t. I think they are in a bad position of not knowing how to test the program because all they are given is the technical spec. No information on the functional side, no information on how to test, and then “poof” they are gone. On to a different firm, maybe a different project, what do I know?

          Thank you for the comments! I can tell they come from your heart.

          Mine – mine simply come from experience. AND I would love to be educated. Could you write a blog with your experiences? With others experiences?

          Thank you again! And again throwing everyone into the same mold, that is never a good idea. And that is what I did this morning. I am sorry. I should have been more careful by saying it was my experiences. Comments from other consultants that have moved onshore, etc.

          Michelle

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  4. Kumud Singh
    Hello Michelle,
    I had great fun reading the blog especially the factors which can annoy developers.We have already discussed the importance of technical person in design phase.However I would say none wants to stay in a confined territory.
    Developer would always peep up the ladder and take away functional and business process with each development.(depends on the exposure provided)
    Business analyst would peep down and get to the coding level to find out the root cause analysis for any problem many a times and they do it interestingly.
    All in all the question arises who would use the knowledge gained in future developments?
    You have also coined a new term I have been hearing but did not dig through. Would browse about that.

    Thanks,

    Regards,
    Kumud

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    1. Michelle Crapo Post author
      Kumud,

      Hey now – up the ladder?  That’s one of the things I don’t like.  I believe in my own little Michelle world, that developers and functionals should be at the same level.  We have different expertise.  But one is not more important than the other.  Unless of course your functional person does the technical design.  Which I perfer they don’t.

      Up and down.  Functional vs. Technical.  I guess who decides what job goes to which person?  A good functional person knows something about the technical side.  (I believe.)  BUT doesn’t do the technical design.  A good technical person knows something about the functional side.  BUT doesn’t do the functional design. 

      And round and round we go!  Good analogy.

      Thank you for the comment!

      Michelle

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