Be the Jim Weirich you want to see in the world

Today marks 1 year since the unexpected death of my friend Jim Weirich. A year ago, this was really hard to process. I tried writing, though these things really just take time. More recently, I enjoy just recalling some of the many great memories of him.

It’s not surprising that his name still comes up a lot at every tech conference I attend. I was sharing some memories with various people at CodeMash this past year, and something interesting occurred to me. I was thinking back to when I first worked with Jim. I was an experienced software developer, but brand new to the Ruby programming language and brand new to the company. Therefore, there was a lot I did not yet know. I remembered feeling so flattered (and also confused) when, probably more then once, Jim asked me to help him figure something out that he was working on. In addition to flattered, I felt included. I felt valued. It was cool. It reminded me that I need to remember to include newer people that I work with. And I have done this before.

Sometimes I like to include newer people on pull requests, in order to review my code. They may not feel like they have any improvements to suggest. Or maybe they will notice something I missed, you never know. And another set of eyes on code rarely hurts. If nothing else, they’ll get exposure to the code changes. They’ll learn about parts of the application that they may not be familiar with. Knowledge sharing is good. Also, they can observe the kinds of suggestions that more experienced developers make on the code; learning by example that way. There’s lots of overall benefits of including newer folks on code reviews.

There are times I have asked someone new to the software application, or even someone new to software development, to help me figure something out. Sometimes, you just need to talk something out. Sometimes just the act of explaining the problem will help you figure it out. And sometimes in the process, the other person has a suggestion to try that you didn’t think of. But remember that sharing the problem is also a form of knowledge sharing. The more people on a team familiar with different parts of the code is good for everyone.

I think Jim knew these things. And I think it may be, at least in part, because of him that I do these things. I should try to break out of my shell and do some of these things more often, and be the Jim Weirich I want to see on my team – in the software development community – and in the world.

And now, to promote something I think is a good idea.



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