Episode 208: Toe-stepper-on-er and high leverage work

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In this episode, Dave and Jamison answer these questions:

  1. Hi Dave and Jamison, my name is Bob Marley. I am a senior software engineer at a tech company. How do I deal with a chronic toe-stepper-onner?

    I have a coworker named Jimi Hendrix - also a senior software engineer - who has a habit of getting involved in and trying to manage my projects. He joins meetings and slack channels, uninvited, and starts asking people for status updates and questions them why things are done a certain way (and not the other), what’s taking so long on unfinished tasks, etc. Jimi basically feels that my projects are his to oversee and manage.

    So far, my response has only been passive aggressive - e.g. taking discussions to a different slack channel or thread, or meeting the team members offline when he is not around. This is obviously not working out and it is not sustainable so I’m looking for some advice on how to deal with it.

    It’s not hindering the project so I don’t have a strong reason to complain. Other than the fact that it drives me nuts when Jimi gets involved and asks for a status update on a project which I have fully under control.

    Should I just do nothing and wait for the problem to go away due to him getting moved to a different project? But how do I keep my sanity until then? And what if even then he finds a way to step on my toes? Have you guys experienced this kind of situation? Is there a permanent solution to it? And no, I don’t want to quit my job. Please help!

    Yours truly, Bob Marley

  2. Hi Dave and Jamison. Love the show. I have been gathering informal peer feedback from my team. I was told I am doing well, and I should be doing “more high leverage work”. I interpret that as coming up with design patterns, best practices, and mentoring other developers. I mentioned that to my manager, and while he agrees, he also said there is no additional head count for the coming year, and knowing that there is a backlog full of features, my concern is that I will be the primary person tasked with writing those features. How could I negotiate/convince my manager to let me do more tech lead work instead?

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