- The Executive Developer
Occasionally found on-site, often sporting suspiciously clean boots, a reluctantly borrowed hard hat, and giving off the distinct impression that there might be a Range Rover parked somewhere nearby, these developers are straight from the C-Suite. You’ll know when they’re on-site because the top brass from the design and construction team will also be there. In fact, these are the only people that the Executive Developer ever talks to. The sub-contractors and construction team who are physically building their projects are somehow totally invisible to them. It’s the construction industry’s equivalent of a royal visit minus (most of) the bowing and scraping and with fewer corgis.
- The Hands-on Developer
Regularly on site, these amiable souls are known to everyone. They take the time to talk to the people on the ground as well as the top brass and take an interest in what’s going on. They’ll often bring in a box of doughnuts for the team and have even been known to do a run to the coffee shop. They’re also keen to make sure that everyone is happy with their lot and that any minor grievances are sorted out. You can still tell they’re the boss, but they seem to have the common touch.
Now, you’re probably all thinking the same thing. Which is, if you were a developer, you’d love to be known as a Hands-on Developer, but the sheer fear involved in imagining an encounter with a group of experienced and opinionated construction workers means that instinctively you’d much rather be the Invisible Developer. Unfortunately, this conflicted position invariably means that you end up looking like an Executive Developer which is arguably the worst one of the three.
Now, you might ask why is this a problem? After all, everyone has their role to play, and you don’t need to be everyone’s friend. At the end of the day, you’re providing gainful employment for many people. You’re not looking for gratitude, but by the same token, surely you don’t need to talk to them all? Which is where you could be missing a massive trick that could cost you a pretty penny.
Construction at its base level is simple stuff, bringing a range of not very sophisticated materials together and assembling them in such a way that they stay assembled and don’t let in the rain. It’s not exactly high-tech. But construction is full of problems. Mercifully not usually of the call-the-bank-manager variety; I’m talking about the minor issues that crop up day-to-day. For example, where the architect’s drawings don’t appear to be entirely compatible with the laws of physics, or where some nasties have been uncovered which require some head-scratching and an ingenious workaround. These things are daily occurrences on construction sites. And guess who sorts them out? As the developer, you won’t be called on-site to opine. In most cases, the project manager or the site manager won’t even hear about them either. And that’s because these problems will be solved by the construction team who are physically doing the work. It’s a massive part of their skillset since if they didn’t do it, construction sites would grind to a halt every other hour.