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Signing your work

by grep (Monsignor)
on Jan 27, 2002 at 12:05 UTC ( #141900=perlmeditation: print w/replies, xml ) Need Help??

I have started a new policy at my place of employment, signing our work. I have to admit this idea was partially stolen from a Graphic Department Manager at a previous job. We were having a discussion about the new catalog he was putting out. He had just started and was wondering why none of the previous GD managers had the graphics staff sign their work. He not only had them sign their original art work, but had a section of page with their pics and bios. The staff loved the idea and appreciated the thought. This discussion led to my realization that “How can you take pride in your work if you do not get the recognition you deserve?”. Artists from the dawn of modern civilization have (almost) always signed their work. We are artists aren’t we?

Now I get to move on to more practical considerations, how. How do integrate this into a customer’s project? Our new customers will know this upfront and, I do not worry that our existing customer will have a problem with this, as long as it tasteful. How do I balance tasteful (i.e. small, unobtrusive) with making sure the programmers and designers get their recognition? Most of our projects are web based, so my natural thought was small banner at the bottom of the index page (approx 120px X 40px) that linked to a page of the team.

So to boil down my questions:
  • Is this important? should I not even bother?
  • Has anyone done this?
  • What methods have you used?
  • Were there any problems with signing your work publicly?

    grep> cd pub
    grep> more beer
  • Replies are listed 'Best First'.
    Re: Signing your work
    by hossman (Prior) on Jan 27, 2002 at 13:09 UTC
      There's nothing wrong with taking a bow, and being able to put your name on something and say "I did this" is one of the strongest motivatores i know of to get people to take pride in their work, and value it's quality.

      For decades programs have had "About" commands/screens that give you info on the program, and frequently who developed it -- i see no reason why WWW based applications should be any different. Having an "About" link at the top/bottom of every page of a WWW based tool might be considered to obtrusive by some, but It's perfectly reasonable to put a small link at the bottom of the front page / spalsh screen / login page for your app.

      And if the higher ups at your company are really anal, just remember: easter eggs don't have to be very obvious, and spending an hour on an easter egg that only 1% of an apps users can be more encouraging then spending 5 hours on a high quality credits screen that 99& of the users see.

      (I know from experience that if you embed an ascii art photo of someone in your source code, and display it only when someone clicks on a 20x20 transparent gif floating in the margin of your page, no one ever notices it when installing your software.)

    Re: Signing your work
    by Necos (Friar) on Jan 27, 2002 at 16:20 UTC
      Personally, I think that signing your work with some sort of banner or "About" link is cool. Some people like to see the names (and possibly pictures) of people who put in the hard work to provide them with a product. Of course, there are those that think of it as a nuisance. If the clients give you the ok, you should do it.

      It's always nice to see people take pride in their work. Yes, I agree with everyone else that says "Not everyone needs to be thanked for their work." At the same time, working in an environment where you write code only to have some jerk come at you and yell about "this is not what I want" or something of that nature can be pretty depressing. No matter how hard-willed a person is, there's a time when we all need to sign our work, look back, and say: "God damn! I am just too good!"

      Theodore Charles III
      Network Administrator
      Los Angeles Senior High
      4650 W. Olympic Blvd.
      Los Angeles, CA 90019
      323-937-3210 ext. 224
    Re (tilly) 1: Signing your work
    by tilly (Archbishop) on Jan 28, 2002 at 00:57 UTC
      A traditional way for developers to do this with or without management approval is with an easter egg. :-)

      On a more serious note, a reason many companies don't want to do this is that it makes it easier for headhunters to identify your employees so they can lure them away.

        Recruiters are a concern of mine, but I'm working for an environment where the developers won't feel the need to look elsewhere :). Our company has an open door policy. I personally like each developer and I would hate to see any one of them go, but I will never hold back anyone's career.

        grep> cd pub
        grep> more beer
    Re: Signing your work
    by trs80 (Priest) on Jan 27, 2002 at 12:50 UTC
      Q: Is this important?
      A: Should be rephrased to is this important to me and my team.

      Q: Should I not even bother?
      A: That depends largely on the above response

      Q: Has anyone done this?
      A: There are no original ideas :^)

      Q: What methods have you used?
      A: We tried this with a small link that the bottom the of application.

      Q: Were there any problems with signing your work publicly?
      A: The company thought it was tacky after they had used the product for a month. (CGI based product)

      Recognition of someone's efforts is an important part of most peoples self esteem and makes them want to work harder. Other people are confident enough in their ability that the praise doesn't need to be as frequent or grandiose. I think how, where, when, etc has to be answered on a per company or individual level. I think internally all development firms should have a 'Cool Code of the X' bulletin board where they have the programmer and what they did that their peers considered to be cool. It would be wise to construct a system allows for everyone to be honestly placed on the bulletin board from time to time and not let the wizards dominate it or it will have the opposite effect of the intent.
    Re: Signing your work
    by ariels (Curate) on Jan 27, 2002 at 17:08 UTC
      I add a haiku.
      Surround it with $ signs;
      run `ident' to read.

      It looks like this:
      # $Haiku: I add a haiku. / Surround it with $ signs; / run `ident' to read$

    Re: Signing your work
    by atcroft (Abbot) on Jan 27, 2002 at 23:13 UTC
      If this is an on-line product (for example, form-based), have you considered putting the developer information in the error page you return if values are not filled in or filled in incorrectly? Also, if it is form-based, you might also have a particular "open sessame" value in one or more of the form elements that is unlikely to be put there that opens the about page.

      Just a few thoughs from an egg. Some of the thoughts above seem quite good, though.

    Re: Signing your work
    by chromatic (Archbishop) on Jan 28, 2002 at 09:32 UTC
      Allow or encourage the developers to contribute back to the CPAN. It may not always be appropriate, but there are many things yet to be coded. (This is also a nice draw for potential customers, if it's good stuff: "Our developers are lauded by their peers.")
        I actively encourage our developers to freely contribute to CPAN. It took a bit to lead the PHBs to the notion that this was a good thing (actually not that much, just some memorized pieces of the Cathedral and the Bazaar). As Raymond points out (at least IMO), pick out the pieces that make sense to release Open Source then do it.

        grep> cd pub
        grep> more beer
    Re: Signing your work
    by Ryszard (Priest) on Jan 28, 2002 at 05:08 UTC
      Personally I'm not sure i'd put credits in a web app. I dont know really why. Strangely enuff, I do like the idea of an easter egg approach. Perhaps its the hacker in me.

      I do however like the idea that was posted about having a "Cool code board". In places where I've worked, I've encouraged the sharing of design/code philosophy, snippets and what-not, and have found it not only helps others in the team, but the recognition and appreciation of peers goes along way to keep/maintain/improve confidence and ability in the team.

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