You’re looking for the best. But do you really mean it?

As I acquire more experience in this game, I routinely interface with recruiters and companies that claim that they’re looking for topnotch talent. They almost all say that they want top performers. However, are the organizations that absorb these top performers into their existing development teams willing to accommodate these performers with the support that got them there?

I have learned that for most organizations, the answer is no.

So what really separates mediocrity from the extremely talented? Is it a God-given gift? Or is it one’s uncompromising commitment? More than likely, it’s one’s commitment to be the best that ultimately recognizes them as the best.

Therefore, if you acquire a topnotch developer that continuously practices to be an even better developer based on their discipline (aka: rigorous procedures) for cultivating code, and you put that developer in a room with average developers that don’t care as much about improving their craft, then what do you expect to happen? I will tell you. The existing camp will recognize the developer as a foreigner and attempt to influence the new hire to adapt to their way of building software. Translated, a software shop just won’t change their habits just because a top performer is now on the team. Instead, the existing team is more likely to constrain his/her abilities so that they will fall inline with the way that software is currently being produced. Hence, humans like “consistency” regardless of its effectiveness. This type of behavior will ultimately frustrate any top performer because they are forced to produce software not to the best of their ability, but instead to the limited abilities of the existing developers.

In conclusion, if you really want to attract top talent, is your organization willing to change their practices to retain them?


Scott Nimrod is fascinated with Software Craftsmanship.

He loves responding to feedback and encourages people to share his articles.

He can be reached at scott.nimrod @