Obviously, I don't want to paint any of our clients with this brush. All of our clients are an absolute delight to work with and I certainly have no intention of comparing our clients to a sometimes incoherent and grumpy toddler.
Just like web development, I’ve found parenting takes a lot of patience, commitment and perseverance; you need to be flexible and always on your toes and I genuinely believe the skills I've developed and honed over my time as a web developer have had a huge impact on my abilities as a parent.
Who's shouting the loudest
sometimes it feels like your clients are having a shouting match, and I have certainly witnessed instances in the past where the client shouting the loudest was the person who got seen to first. Thankfully our management of projects and client expectations have improved over the years and working with better structure has certainly guided me in building better structure into family life. Managing my daughters ever changing demands becomes easier with structure and a little patience goes a long way in any setting.
What's wrong now?
One thing that's pretty universal amongst developers is investigating an issue, debugging code to try to find and resolve bugs. The same thing happens all the time when you have children, especially when they're young and not able to simply tell you what the problem is. In development you typically have three steps to complete to fix an issue, and these apply almost directly to parenting to:
Although I would not recommend trying to replicate whatever caused this current issue with your little one it's an invaluable step in trying to resolve an issue in web development. Finding the cause of the issue (tears) is the first step in finding a solution, and understanding the issue as best you can before trying to tackle it can make the whole ordeal more straightforward.
2. Addressing the issue
Once an issue is understood you can set about dealing with it. Sometimes this might be as simple as making sure everyone understands why something is happening (No sense getting angry over nothing. No, I'm not tired!), sometimes it might be making a change to correct something or avoid that same thing occurring in the future.
This one’s pretty obvious, you're simply making sure the new changes or understanding is working for everyone - we don't want this same issue causing further grumps!
Clients (this goes triple for children) often want one thing one minute and then two minutes later want something completely different (that'd be my perspective anyway). The root cause of this isn't always a simple change of mind and might just come down to a misunderstanding. Anything that can be done to reduce confusion helps everyone involved and having a clearer understanding from the offset can sometimes avoid this entirely. There’s certainly been times that my daughter and I have not understood each other - Communication is key and a simple conversation can make sure everyone is on the same page.
That said, often there's seemingly no logic to this latest shift and dealing with the change swiftly is all that can be done. My daughter is currently 3 and she changes her favourite thing almost hourly. In the web development world, the current design trends and favoured development approaches change almost as often and let's not even get started with some of the unexpected requirements that come about from time to time – being able to adapt to these changes is an invaluable skill in both aspects.
If you want to challenge my ability – as a developer, not a parent, then please get in touch.