How important is writing?

I read this interview with Matt Mullenweg , the creator of WordPess, where he says:

“Skill in writing is one of the things I look for the most in hiring, because I feel that clear writing represents clear thinking, regardless of someone’s background, or whether they’re a designer or coder or whatever.

The ability to communicate effectively and clearly in written form is not only super important in a distributed company, but I think reflects well on how they approach life in general.

Part of the reason I started blogging and started working on WordPress was because I love writing.

If I can become a better writer, perhaps I can become a better thinker.”

I feel that my writing reflects my thinking a lot. I’m a slow writer, an email takes me ages. I pick my words carefully, delete, rewrite and keep going until perfection or until I say to myself “come on, you’re just cancelling your subscription, this is probably good enough”.

I wonder if the process shows in the results. I also wonder how my favourite colleagues do in this regard. Would I have hired them based on their writing?


The fulfillment kick

Earlier this week I was part of discussion on how getting things done led to fulfillment and how you can struggle with getting that fulfillment kick in certain positions. Someone bought up the example of programmers who had become managers/mentors. When they used to find fulfillment in a code check-in, this was more difficult as a mentor when their new job is to talk to people and help them get their jobs done.

We agreed that since our childhood we have been drilled to fulfill our task individually. In school we are mostly graded on individual performance. As adults we read and develop techniques to get things done ourselves. This can be through to-do lists, personal kanban boards, etc.

But in the team setting that most of us work in this doesn’t work out very well.

I’ve had programmers tell me that once their code is “ready for test” their job is done and they can start working on something else. As a tester I obviously disagree with that approach. But I’ve also gotten developers to to help me with the testing, which made us finish a feature much faster than if I had done it alone. The day after they all agreed that it had been nice to push on and and get it ready for release right away rather than starting something new.

But what do you do when you are done with your task and have nothing obvious to do? You try to find something to do. Something immediately related to you. Probably because it is what you are used to and also because it gives you a sense of fulfillment.

This might not be what is best for your team at the moment. Asking a few colleagues if they need any help could be a better option.

If you have a team where people are more used to the individual fulfillment kicks then I would suggest that you show them to see how nice the team fulfillment kick can be.

PS. When I was tied up one day, the developers in my example went about to test a feature without me. I got a review when I came back and the team could release the feature. Previously, we would have had to wait one day to get it finished.