I've recruited a junior profile, recently.

So far, so good, tenacious, learning and willing to stick the hours to do so.

However, one thing is a bit irritating to me and the other members of my team : He doesn't want to use the tools that all of us, use and that have been defined by the sysadmin.

All of our workstation are in Linux and we all use zsh. However, he is very insistent on using some new bash, saying he feels more comfortable with it. The issue is that when we have code reviews, the tools he is using are not configured properly and we waste precious time, retrieving info we should have at hand.

And there are a few other things that he is doing his way, instead of doing the team's way like using DuckDuckGo instead of using Google, to search for technical knowledge.

The issue is that by using these tools, we are often wasting time when retrieving info the name of the branch we are using in term of development, info that are available on my zsh and the zsh of my other team members.

The other issue is that he is not proficient with the tools he is using.

As my team is new and our company small, there is no real procedure on which tools everyone should use. Everyone use the tools he wants.

My questions are a bit sequential:

  • Should I ask my junior profile, to abide with our way of working? I'm not really fond of imposing things but in the same time, this is work where we should have the same environment for everyone to gain efficiency, instead of originality. It is also a way to say that you are part of the team, not some loose spirit who works his own way.

  • In a bigger company, if someone wants to use a tool, there would be proposals for new tools and discussion to implement it. As a smaller company, we have no procedures, everyone wants to use the tools he wants to use.

    Should I define some basic procedure with our sysadmin and ask my colleagues to submit him tools ideas and let the sysadmin, do some optimisation before making it available to our colleagues?



Many thanks for your feedback.

After reading all your answers and comments, Gnasher, Fattie, Brandin, Joe , Simon and Emil, I think that what we , as a team, need to have a common work framework with common tools , when working together in particular context.

When we are doing peer code reviewing for example, we need to have the same windows, the same shell. It makes the collaborative work easier.

However, when you are on your own, you are free to use whatever tools you want to use.

  • Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat.
    – user44108
    Nov 19, 2018 at 6:48

4 Answers 4


What you are really discussing is not what shell and search engine should be used (I personally use Bing because I don't trust Google one bit), what you are discussing is who has the power. You want him to do the work the way you want him to do it. Tell you what, if you joined my team you could say goodbye to zsh - oh no, you wouldn't, because I don't try to force my preferences on others.

Joining a team and then being told that you are not allowed to work the way you like it, just because of someone else's different preferences (because frankly the reasons you gave are very unconvincing) will not help with the person's job satisfaction and will just make them want to leave.

  • 2
    I hate to admit but ... you are right. Didn't thought I could be such a poor schm... Thanks for waking me up.
    – John Legas
    Nov 17, 2018 at 23:27
  • Imagine the team that makes - oh - the software used to move the control surfaces when you're flying in a jumbo jet. If there was some frankly dickhead on that team who wasn't capable of doing what he/she was told. Who started to - holy fuck - use random tools at their whim. What would you want to happen? The answer is self-evident. The absolute nature of software is that you have to excel and execute in a framework.
    – Fattie
    Nov 18, 2018 at 4:24
  • 1
    (Cont ..) I don't know what fields y'all are thinking of here as the putative example, but if it is not life-and-death, there is usually vast amounts of costs and potential profit on the line. The stakes could not be higher. There's zero room for nonsense.
    – Fattie
    Nov 18, 2018 at 4:25
  • 2
    Using the same tools are important. If you want to derivate from this, the burden is on you to show you can be at least as productive. This is typically where IntelliJ wins over Eclipse? Nov 18, 2018 at 16:33
  • 3
    @gnaher729 actually OP gave one good example, of not having appropriate tooling in his preferred shell (such as seeing the name of the branch). Maybe this example hits a little too close to home, but I've recently had to spend time helping someone who is very bad at keeping track of what branch he is on. Every help session basically involved me saying repeatedly, "STOP. Check what branch you are on first. Did you install the thing I recommended? That will show you automaticlally." If the OP's junior dev is unable to use the same functionality in his shell as the team, it's a problem. Nov 18, 2018 at 19:34

Yes, but only where it matters. What search engine someone uses makes no difference to the finished product. Neither does the text editor they prefer.

If it causes compatibility issues where one person's code won't work (compile/run/whatever) on another person's system, then that matters.

In bigger companies, there will be an approved tool set, with a process for evaluating new tools when people ask for them.

  • 2
    The idea that everyone could use different IDEs is .. incredible. "In bigger companies, there will be an approved tool set..." if anything, there's more cost pressure on in smaller companies and startups, where there's a budget fixed to the cent to get the prototype (or whatever) built.
    – Fattie
    Nov 18, 2018 at 4:26
  • 1
    I don't find it incredible at all to use different IDEs. Interfering with other's ability to do code review, I agree, should not happen. But which IDE you use to achieve your task? Not an issue in my mind - use whatever is best for your productivity.
    – bytepusher
    Nov 18, 2018 at 14:03
  • 1
    @Fattie raises an important point. Less resources at smaller companies means there might be only one person that is an expert on something and s/he then has to spend time telling the others how to do something. If I rig up something to work similarly in a local environment as in build/deployment, I don't want to have to now tell three different guys three different ways of how to setup their environments. It's incredibly wasteful of my time and frustrating to have to figure out a different way just because, for example, some guy likes a particular dark theme on his IDE. Nov 18, 2018 at 19:19
  • Yes, @Chan-HoSuh has expressed this absolutely perfectly. I myself would say the exact same sentence but add various adjectives like "insane" "utterly" etc!
    – Fattie
    Nov 19, 2018 at 3:57
  • @bytepusher How can you maintain the system in a buildable state with multiple IDE's. In most cases, it's the IDE that maintains the build configuration and scripts. If one person changes the configuration in their IDE, compiles it, tests it and checks it in, then it's highly likely to not compile, or malfunction when compiled in the other person's IDE.
    – Simon B
    Nov 19, 2018 at 12:28

You've stated this new developer isn't proficient with his tools. So he has no case.

Your question is broadly phrased as "Should I let a new developer use his tools over the team's standardized tools" but really you are asking, "should I let a noob developer that doesn't know how to do stuff, shoot himself in the foot and waste our time, or should I enforce team standards and make him more productive at the same time?"

Easy answer to that. The answer is "make him more productive and show him at the same time why companies have standardization". You're the experienced developer. He is a noob. Teach him. Don't let him "unteach" you.

  • Maybe "company policy" was too strong a term, but he did say "tools that all of us, use and that have been defined by the sysadmin." Sounds like there are tools that the team has agreed upon and are supported by the sysadmin. Nov 18, 2018 at 19:11
  • changed "company policy" to "team standards" Nov 18, 2018 at 19:37
  • Hi @Chan-HoSuh, we don't have any standards yet... -_- But this is the aim. So yes, hearing you.
    – John Legas
    Nov 18, 2018 at 20:05

If a company states which tools must be used,

(yes, even something seemingly as trivial as "their search engine" or "their keyboard")

that's what they use.

There's nothing much else to be said.

{Regarding the off-topic discussion of whether it's petty/sensible to require certain tools: (i) you can trivially see examples where it would be critical that everyone uses those same tools and (ii) interestingly, a really important part of software is you have to have absolute faith in the upwards pipe - on principal. If your architect tells you to do some thing a certain way there's likely a specific reason even if she didn't bother explaining it. All software engineers of basic competence understand this is a fundamental aspect of doin' software.}

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    This is not helpful for the situation. OP obviously knows she as the boss have ultimate authority so you bring nothing new to the table. You also disregard any negative effects on imposing a certain way of working onto the employees. For example, some employees might decide their time is better spent elsewhere, or they become less productive, or it leads to burn-out having the constant stress of your boss making decisions over your head. All these factors are important to a good manager, and they are worth discussing. If you have "nothing else to say" then don't post a useless answer. Nov 18, 2018 at 8:13
  • 2
    Hi @EmilVikström thanks for your feedback. However, IMO, Fattie can express his opinion, I welcome it. As Fattie said, in bigger corporation, you don't have any choices. You like the tools set, fine, you don't like it, you're shown the door. Period. I've been working in places where you cannot install anything on your laptop. My aim is to have the right balance between let-do attitude and expecting efficiency when using the tools. You can use any tools you want as long as your colleague can easily retrieve the info when helping you and not use 1/n
    – John Legas
    Nov 18, 2018 at 11:59
  • 1
    (can I use the word waste?) unnecessary time to retrieve the correct info like which branch you are working. 2/n n =2
    – John Legas
    Nov 18, 2018 at 12:01

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