I’ll write and maintain (to a point of absurdity) a plugin that has less than 6,000 downloads because my sense of ownership over the project is strong. I feel attached to Subtitles because it has my name on it and I’m responsible for it. I take strong pride in taking leadership over work and especially avoid projects or codebases that have no clear direction or accountability. There’s no sadder sight than the plugin or theme that dissolves into dust due to a lack of ownership.

When you give someone ownership over their work wonderful things can happen. Midday showers will create beautiful ideas and coders won’t mind sleepless nights dreaming up solutions that they are proud of. Pride and owning one’s work are what keep me going. Having space to make mistakes without judgment or overly-controlling rules also keeps me going. Being told not to do something or being hampered down by talking about coding rather than coding are what stops me in my tracks.

In my heart I am a developer. If not more than 80% of my time is being spent on the writing of code, the closing of tickets, the squashing of bugs, and the creation of things that make others go “Wow” then I feel myself losing happiness. I just want to make stuff and help others make stuff.

I think a lot of us are like this; let us always remember how beautiful coding feels when we find ourselves with an impulse to erect guidelines, standards, procedures, or rules. Let us remember how good we felt when we had our first pull request or Trac patch accepted when newcomers come along. Let us be careful with our words and gracious with others who want to help and give us their time at no cost.

Let us not push those away who would take agency and ownership over our work. It means that we’ve done something right.

Author: Philip Arthur Moore

CEO at We Cobble. We build digital products for people.™