Thursday, April 7, 2011

Do job titles shape our thinking?

It's well known that the words we use shapes our thoughts. With that in mind, does a job title shape our thoughts into what our role should/should not be based on industry norms?

For example, I've caught myself in the past using my job title to justify not doing a task that I didn't want to do. This is something I've worked hard at breaking myself out of.  I've also seen other developers do the same thing many times. At the time I thought it was perfectly fine, but have since realised that we all need to pull together.

Of course the job title is just one part of a larger thing, the job description.  When was the last time you saw your job description though, if ever?

In every company I've worked over the last 15 years I've never seen my my job description. I'm sure one was given to the various recruiters and I'm sure that if I asked I would have been given it, but I've never thought to ask.

So the job title, some management guidance and discussion with peers have been all I've had to go on.

With this in mind should we start using team based titles, or no titles at all? I'm gravitating towards Product Team Member.

What are your thoughts?

1 comment:

  1. Nice post James. I've had similar experiences, even worked with developers that say things like "I'm a senior developer, I don't do that..."

    I find that the fancier the title, the higher the complacency. I'd like to learn more about the psychology behind it, right now I can only talk about my experiences where people use titles to get out of doing work or as a reason to think they know everything because of the title.

    At Agile2011 one participant in a session I was in said they experimented with removing all titles, people were simply 'team members'. It would be pretty neat to see how that worked out.