In any work environment you here things like “Don’t step on my toes”, “Do not touch my desk or my projects”. Walls are formed to protect what they believe is their own best interest; protecting their job in essence. Is this really the case though? Software developers seem particularly protective because they believe someone may mess something up on them, break something or take credit for something.
I believe it is time to rip down those walls that we have formed. Let others come into our space and collaborate. Yes it is sometimes a shock to come back from vacation and find someone has messed with “your” code, work or tells your customers something different. Reality is though it is not your code, work or your customers. The customers belong to the company you work for along with the code and your work. It is to our best interest to let others do things for us. They may find something we had missed, done wrong or have a better way of doing it. From time to time it can even generate a good laugh as we are reading through the code comments.
Another advantage of not keeping all of the work to ourselves is we can drop the old in favor of new work. You cannot do everything so you must give up something. Old work can get boring sometimes and you become complacent and dull. You need to stay sharp. If you don’t give up some of your old work / customers, you cannot take on new. Taking on new work and customers allows your mind to stay sharp. Allows you to investigate new things rather than dwelling on the old.
If a Senior Developer shares their work with a junior, the junior then has an opportunity to learn from the senior. They will be reading through tried and true code and learning “best practices”; alternatively, the junior than can challenge the senior and perhaps show an old dog new tricks.
It is to everyone’s advantage to share work. Teach someone else what you are doing, so that they can do it to. This will cut the number of hours you need to spend after hours and it will allow to take stress free vacations, knowing someone else besides you can do the work.
It is not job security to keep things close to you. It can actually burn you out as an employee and because you cannot take on anything new, it makes you less of a team player. Drop the “mine, mine, mine” mentality and share the love. You and your fellow work mates will be better for it.