Over the past few months I have started to feel really lucky in terms of who I work for. The life of a developer can be extremely different depending on the company. I know this sounds obvious, but I think when you are on the right side of this it can often be taken for granted.
I am seeing the word autonomy thrown around a lot lately, but with good reason, it is really important and something that we have at the company I work for. A very minimalistic approach to management means that my days or not clogged up with tedious meetings, which disengage developers.
We are, for the most part, left to our own devices. We are assigned projects with thorough user stories, but then it is left to us, the developers to decide how to approach things, which is (imo) how it should be.
I have been part of teams where it felt like design driven development, new feature after new feature thrown at us multiple times a day, tweaks to this and tweaks to that... Each time we would need to down tools and work on whatever was the hot feature for the day. It was dreadful, working under constant pressure and being rushed ultimately leads to things taking a lot longer and usually results in a product being shipped with a lot more bugs.
Having autonomy takes the majority of this away. It allows me to be much more focused and engaged in meetings, because we have so few I know they are there for a reason and therefore important. I get solid hours of Deep Work done in the mornings and afternoons, where I know what I am doing and can just go ahead and do it.
So, if this is you, then be grateful, if not, then I would seriously consider trying to implement change in your organisation, if that is not possible then I would definitely consider moving on.
Micromanagement, false urgency and a lack of purpose is probably one of the worst ways to work.
Another great plus about my current role is that I can work from home, pretty much as often as I want. I live close by, my commute is around 15 minutes each way, but I still usually work from home 2 days per week. I love it and I think I will start to do it more and more going forward.
In terms of my output, nothing really changes, depending on how chatty the office is I sometimes get more done from home than I do in the office, but the real benefits of working from home, for me at least, are the effect it has on my personal life.
I can squeeze a workout in at lunch, grab food with my partner when she is around, meet up and work with friends from different companies and industries, people who I would otherwise barely see.
Remote definitely isn't for everyone and when not in a remote first company I think it is still very important to go in the office occasionally to maintain relationships with your colleagues and take part in meetings etc. If you have never tried it, then I would absolutely recommend it to everyone.
Some companies seem to be against it, although this is improving. Again it just makes no sense to me that some companies feel the need to force people to come in and work on-site, if you can't trust a person to get on with the job you hired them for then you probably hired the wrong people!
Anyway, rant over, the point of this post was me showing appreciation for my workplace and to perhaps highlight to others that there are options for a more autonomous life.