One of the interesting traits of good technology people is that sometimes they are quite introverted. This manifests in a number of different ways depending on what role that technologist plays, whether they are a member of a development team, a consultant, or a system administrator.
Introverted consultants are an interesting case because the reality of the consulting role is that you are forced (if you are to be successful) to be a fairly good communicator and so despite your introverted nature you learn techniques that enable you to stand up in front of a room full of people and and be quite persuasive even though your comfort zone might well be hiding away in a dark room reading through API documentation.
Recently I’ve noticed that this combination of good technical skills, introverted nature and learned consulting abilities can _sometimes_ lead to a behaviour that doesn’t work well in a team.
The first thing to realise is that when I talk about good technical skills I truly do mean that the individual has got what it takes to get something done. Where this is relevant is that they do develop a belief that the best way for them to do something is to go dark and deliver at the end of the project and because of their communication abilities they manage to convince others on the project team that is the way to go – sometimes with disastrous consequences.
Things go off the rails when the people they convince also start going dark but don’t quite have the technical skills it takes to get themselves out of trouble. What this consultant has done is allowed themselves to go dark with their introverted nature, led people down the same path but when crunch time comes their unique skills only manage to bail themselves out.
Personally I think it is a really dangerous combination for software development projects because so much of the deliverable relies on the team working well together and avoiding icebergs towards the end of the project. If you are a project leader you need to be aware of whether you or someone else on your team has this combination of good technical skills and introverted nature which is masked by learned consulting abilities. If you don’t then you may well be setting yourself up for failure.
If you are a project leader you need to be less of a technical consultant and more of a team consultant who understands the dynamics of how a team will work together.