On Craftsmanship

I’m working on a project that is split across a few teams. I’ve been acting as creative director on this project. You know, the ideas person, but also the software architect on iOS as well as the lead developer. This is my favourite role more than anything and I’m happy to have it and I think I’m doing excellent work too.

Getting from idea to finished product is the challenge however. As a creative person it really hurts to watch your vision be warped and distorted and basically unravel due to things beyond your control.

Which makes me think of the word craftsmanship. It really sucks to have to work with people who aren’t passionate about what they do. Passion. A weird word in the context of the workplace. No, you don’t have to be some bohemian poet-person in a cape with a vaguely spanish accent talking about the passion you put into your work. No, it’s more about just caring about doing the best possible job you can do and equally knowing what you can’t do and admitting this. Coming up with elegant solutions. People who care about craftsmanship want to work with like-minded people. People who strive for excellence, not just ‘meeting requirements’.

It is the most frustrating thing in the world to work with people who just don’t seem to care about the quality of their solutions. I’ve seen better results at a hackathon than the ‘professional level’ work of this unnamed team we’re forced to work with. If it were up to me they would have either received support or had people fired ages ago. Because in the end, you know that:

1.0 * 0.6 = 0.6, whereas non-technical managers think 1.0 * 0.6 = 1.2. So now, we’re forced to make the equation 1.4 * 0.6 = 0.84 and of course get no thanks whatsoever because of aforementioned “math” deficiency that plagues management worldwide.

Rant over.


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