How to Keep Devs Happy

Behind every great developer team are a couple of key ingredients. I would love to say that one of them is their Ops Coordinator but it isn’t always about me (false). Anywho, here are 5 things that I have found that seem to keep the builder-geeks happy – or, at least quiet.

1) Coffee. This seems like a very normal request for an office and you are right about that. Throw some beans and water into a pot, and whamo! – you got your caffeine to keep the natives happy. Right? Nope, not technical enough. We first must send numerous emails about the current coffee situation and the many reasons it fails to meet the startup standards. Once the natives have worked themselves into enough of a tizzy, a stage 2 email must be sent with the next greatest solution. That email, of course, is batted around with lots of reviews, "he said, she saids" and “I know someone who knows someone who said that was the worst most uncool ever.” Once a doodle has been sent to every dev who has any sort of opinion on anything at all, a compromise is sometimes reached. At that point I just order what I originally wanted, and in 3-5 business days it is here. The problem does not end here though. How does this kitchen appliance work? Who is to make the coffee in the new fangled contraption? Should we harvest our own beans? Enter: more emails, more reviews, and more doodles.


2) Yogurt. Odd? Yup, odd. But let me tell you something blog reader: yogurt can make or break a morning. Right after the coffee that magically gets ground and made day after day yogurt is the next hot item. These are things to decide before buying: brand, flavor, greek, plain, fruit, honey, fat percentage, organic, local, quantity, quality. The choices seem to be endless and overwhelming. (I need a Xanax even typing this.) If the yogurt ain’t right, the devs aren’t happy.

Typical Wish List

3) Playlist. Many a civil war has been started due to one person's music choice. Here at QL, it is socially acceptable to play the following: bubble music (Tycho), stressful sounds (Glitch Mob), 80’s rap (because we think we are cool), and occasionally Toto (on repeat) to signal the end of a busy work day or happy hour. However, it is never (EVER) acceptable to play anything that starts with the letter “J” (John Mayer, Journey, Justin Timberlake, Jimmy Buffett, Janet Jackson, Justin Beiber, Jethro Tull), Dad Rock (Don Henley), and Mood Music (Ray Lamontagne). It also NOT funny nor appropriate, to test the listening waters. It's enough to spawn a mutiny. Stick to bubbles, stress, 80’s rap, and Toto. The end.

Music is Creation

4) Beer. Ahh, yes. You don’t have a startup without beer and you don’t have happy developers without a microbrew on tap in the kegerator. Figuring out which beer to tap is much like a scientific hypothesis: “If QL is hosting a summer time Hackfest, then a wheat beer should be purchased;" OR “If QL runs out of beer during a blizzard in February, then Amanda should skate ski to the liquor store to refill the kegerator with a stout and not complain about it.” (Gosh it is not that hard, silly Ops!)

Decoding Humor at Work

5) Cats & Jorts. In order to engage non code conversation one must be up to date on all cat meme’s, jort sightings, and cats in jorts. Truly these are the most talked about things and if you really want to get in with the dev team try to include one or all of these in emails, chats, and lunch meetings. However, do note these guidelines: 1) Never show pics of your own cat as this is “not funny” but instead is just weird and 2) Never admit to owning your own jorts unless you want to be ostracized. Here are some potential happy non code dev conversations. “Wat?! Jorts on a fixie? So Boulder.” “Did you see that cat meme where that cat was dressed up like a zombie and was chasing the baby?” “I found a pair or jorts made out of a cat printed fabric, now all I need is to find a cat wearing them and my life is complete.”

As you can see it may seem really simple to keep an awesome dev team happy, but it is a full time job I tell you. You to can rock the startup office if you keep these 5 simple steps in mind. Don’t make the mistakes I have; your team and therapist will thank you for it.