Wednesday, April 7, 2010

King Me

It appears that I had a bit of a hiatus from blogging.  This was primarily due to a whirlwind of a successful job search, followed by a brief transition.   The search itself was quite enlightening as the last time I formally interviewed for a job was 1997 and the last time I actually got a job from the resume/interview process was 1987.

Anyway, during one of my interviews I was asked what I would do as a manager if three of my developers came up with equally good but different solutions to a problem but couldn’t agree on which one to implement.  My answer was something to the affect that, although I prefer to be a consensus builder, management by committee is no management at all, the buck would stop with me and I would have to pick one.

My interviewer had another interesting idea.  If remember it correctly, he called it his “King Theory”.  What he would do is pick one of the developers and make him or her “The King”.  It would be his or her job to pick one of the solutions and be responsible for it’s success.  They would be able to pick any or any combination of the solutions but the buck would stop with them.

Now the interesting question is what would be the best solution for the developer to choose and what would they?  The natural instinct would probably be to pick their own but might it not be better to pick someone else’s or a combination to invest the other team members in the success of the implementation?

I thought it was a pretty interesting solution to the problem.  Has anyone else run across this?  What do you think of it?


  1. I would always go for my solution. :)

  2. Easy. Once you designated me "King" I would immediately appoint you "Prime Minister", the one who has the actual power (or maybe have all the developers vote to make it democratic, and it would presumably be in their best interests to vote for you since you actually do have the power and each developer's chance of having his/her solution as part of the final product would presumably be about the same either way assuming he/she didn't read your post above). Then you would have to make the decision, and the honorary "King" would have little chance of getting dethroned even if things went wrong. Problem solved. Do I win?