A second reason developers are shown the door is that they arent communicating the great results of their work. If you think cranking out tons of code from the safe confines of your cubicle will ensure your job security, think again. You have to promote your work.
Yes, I mean brag.
You cannot always rely on your manager to communicate your successes with others on your team and in management. Take management out of the equation and start a peer award process where the team members vote on coder of the month award.
Provide some goofy trophy and post the winner (and what they did) on the company wiki or via email distribution list.
You can also subtly mention what it is youre working on with others in management or end users. If you are doing good work, then youll receive kudos when the software is implemented.
And if the implementation is not a success? This is tricky because you dont want to play the blame game in public.
One suggestion is to talk openly about things that can be done differently next time and how you are eager to work with the team to correct the problems. However, if failures keep happening then follow the actions from my first reason above.
Finally, a third reason. This is the one that drives managers crazy. Its the case of unfulfilled potential.
The developer who has all the talent in the world, but lacks either motivation or drive to perform up to expectations. As a manager, I expect to be able to motivate team members with money, career advancement, cool projects or even intangibles such as increased work schedule flexibility.
But sometimes, the rewards just dont motivate.
The result is a developer who isnt accountable. They consistently are late to work and meetings. They dont adhere to standards. Theyre simply complacent.
Sometimes really smart developers can get away with this for a period of time. They can write code in a fraction of the time it takes others. Yet the manager allows for the same time an average developer would take to complete the same code.
The problem is when the developer gets too lazy or too cocky and starts pushing their deliverables to the last minute, causing delays. Or they just arent around when other developers need to talk to them. Eventually the ax will come down on them as well the manager must look out for what is best for the team and long term success of the organization.
You can be sure that there are plenty of other reasons developers get fired. So take off the ear buds, close down your 20 Skype threads and take some time each day to think about what you can do to prevent this from happening to you.
Otherwise, dont feign surprise when you also hear the words Youre fired!
Eric Spiegel is CEO and co-founder of XTS, which provides software for planning, managing and auditing Citrix and other virtualization platforms.