Miriam-Webster defines a Speed Demon as someone that moves or works very fast. Some people just have this need for speed. Software developers at not immune. There aren’t many speed demons out there. Turns out, a lot of risk takers don’t like the idea of sitting behind a desk pecking away at a keyboard. But for those that do exist, here are some more common traits, and some things to look out for.
Has Fast task completion
Give a speed demon a well defined ticket, and the turn around time will be significantly less then their counterparts. For some reason – racing through tickets to the solution is was they feel gives them the edge.
Missing attention to detail
However, watch out for simple mistakes. It’s not laziness – it’s just slow proofreading code over and over again. That’s what tests are for. That’s what code reviews are for. It’s great that they can do things quickly – but a little bit of slowdown, and fewer issues is a much stronger result.
Has a strong grasp of the whole code base
The speed demon truly tries to grock the entire code base. It’s the only way they can move quickly. Given a task, they’ll study it upfront, make assumptions, try some things, then come back with a working – although not always optimal solution. It will work though. Mostly.
A speed demon’s true weakness is blindspots. If they miss something, and moving fast they are going to, they truly miss it. The earlier in the process it is, the bigger the mistake. Usually it’s a problem understanding, or missing, requirements. Sometimes it’s just forgetting to dot the i’s and cross the t’s.
Has a tendancy to showoff and brag
Most of the time it is a good thing for a developer to humbly celebrate their victories. Some speed demons aren’t humble – they try to offset their speed with victories. They won’t mention the mistakes, although they often reflect heavily upon them.
Missing compassion when others are slow
From a soft skills perspective – other people being slow is annoying. And expressing that isn’t a good soft skill – it’s more a lack thereof. Understanding what a slower more consistent develop brings to the table is a huge boon to the speed demon.
How to get ahead as a speed demon?
Try slowing down a little and making less mistakes. Try to lift up the team, instead of pushing / pulling them in the direction you want to go. Beware of scrum – because the points are based on the team’s velocity – you won’t fit well with the smallish tickets created on a scrum team. That said, you can use it to your advantage and plow through more points then others on the team. If your manager is attentive – and you aren’t making a lot of mistakes that everyone else has to clean up – you’ll do quite well in scrum.
How to work with a speed demon?
Mass migrations, large refactors – these are their bread and butter. Everyone else might think they are tedious, but for someone trying to fly through something quickly – these work well for them. Make sure they have the project in hand, maybe have them test the base case, then move on to the remainder of the task. Don’t make the same code review expectations on a project like this. In fact – make sure the base case is solid – if it isn’t, don’t let them continue until they can make a migration successfully.
Try to keep them from overrunning projects with unique properties. In their zeal for accomplishment they might miss the larger picture, and possibly block up the entire team with their CR’s that aren’t quite what was needed – but are super close.
Think you are a speed demon, or know one? I’d be curious to know! Feel free to leave a comment. If you like what you read, please share it! – and, as always – thank-you for reading!