Although the first time I discussed this analogy was at a Meetup hosted at AllScripts Pune office, this wasn’t the first time I had received an expected answer to my question. The question usually used to gauge the (unity in) diversity of the audience.
How many software developers do I have in the room?
Since I take sessions around agile software development, it’s obvious that the participants are mostly Project Managers (pun intended). And that’s the response I usually receive — less than 1/4th raise their hands who basically consist of programmers and automation testers. The rest of the superior audience never raise their hands unless I address their designations appropriately (please note that Sr. Managers and Managers are to be addressed differently).
So the follow-up question I had at AllScripts was this -
How many types of honey bees exist?
I wasn’t expecting people to know the answer (I wasn’t sure either before I read about it) so I continued by addressing these superior bees — the worker bee, the drone bee, and the queen bee. Although each of these bees survive together in a hive and perform the duties that they are assigned with, they are all aligned towards a common goal -
Making honey for humans ;)
But it doesn’t matter which type of bee it is, for a layman (who’s not a bee keeper), all look like and are addressed as a honey bee. Software development is no different — it requires a number of people (bees) who survive together in an organisation (hive) and perform the duties that they are assigned with, all aligned towards a common goal -
Making software for humans
So in retrospect, it really doesn’t matter what your role (or designation) is, if you’re in the business of software development, by default, you’re a software developer (period). Does that make you feel small about your profession? It shouldn’t. This is probably the only thing that brings you closer to a society where you’re treated as equals and invited for your skills and your presence. And if you still feel otherwise, use this analogy and see 4/5th of your audience raise their hands and acknowledge themselves as software developers; it feels like a family of cousins you didn’t know you had.
Be(e) a honey Bee :)