How to encourage collaboration amongst programmers

June 23, 2014

Why

Programmers are problem solvers and are thus so busy that they often never make the time or get a chance to share their knowledge. At times, some programmers just don’t want to share their knowledge as they are afraid they will lose the edge on their peers. And at other times its just so damn hard to share knowledge effectively that programmers become silos of knowledge. Some other reasons might be the fear of not knowing the answer, more work or the fear of being wrong.

How?

  1. Encourage people to share, have lunch ‘n learns, commend those who you see sharing their knowledge. Collaboration requires that the parties involved share goals.
  2. Find the simplest way to collaborate and share this information. I have found that a medium that is easily accessible and search-able has the best results. Nothing is more frustrating than trying to find something you know exists but is very difficult to find. I don’t believe a shared drive with hundreds of documents is the best solution.
  3. Take the first step. If you ask a colleague for help then document the details and outcome on the medium where you share this information.
  4. Make this repository of information editable by anyone in the team. Things change; processes and procedures evolve, therefore, your documentation should too.

Conclusion

Collaboration is difficult but not impossible take small steps by getting a wiki setup or even a Google site. I have found this small steps to be effective but YMMV.


Discussion, links, and tweets

My name is Deon Heyns and I am a developer learning things and documenting them in realtime. Python, Ruby, Scala, .NET, and Groovy are all languages I have written code in. I appeared in the New York Post once. I host my code up at GitHub and Bitbucket so have a look at my code, fork it and send those pull requests.

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