I'm a Software Engineering lead (manager) and I find that developing systems in a large cross-discipline team works better when everyone follows the set processes. Ofcourse this works in theory, in real life not everyone will follow set processes and most of the time things still work, but most of the time when something goes wrong it's because someone ignored a process.

When performing a "post-mortem" or restrospective meeting on such cases the action points usually end up in two ways: either change a specific process or ensure that people follow the process.

I've once received feedback that I'm a "Process Ninja". I'm not really sure if this is positive or negative feedback. Does it mean that I'm too rigid?

  • 12
    I have never heard "ninja" used in a negative context. May 25, 2021 at 6:24
  • 2
    The only person who knows is the person who gave you the feedback - why not ask them?
    – Erik
    May 25, 2021 at 7:31
  • I voted to close as opinion based. While there is a valid answer saying "normally it's positive" it really does not help you understanding the specific case. In your specific case of a specific person saying this, your guess is as good as ours. Ask them.
    – nvoigt
    May 25, 2021 at 8:31
  • the usual phrase is "code ninja". meaning you're a sloppy but gifted programmer, a cowboy coder. "process ninja" is usually used to mean the opposite of that, "all you do is you're good at organizing stuff". however it could also be used completely positively, ie just pointing out that (not only) are you a great coder, but you're also good at boring crap like CI and meetings. so it's normally used in contrast to "code ninja" but it could be a completely straiught complement.
    – Fattie
    May 25, 2021 at 11:34
  • @MatthewGaiser It is sometimes used as a social cathegory for "No Income No Jobs no Assets", but certainly that is not the sense it is been used here.
    – SJuan76
    May 26, 2021 at 22:12

1 Answer 1


In tech, Ninja is usually a term of appreciation. The Ninja in pop culture are high skilled specialists who get their job done. Since Ninjas are also adaptable, I doubt anybody would use it to signify something is to rigid.

The only way I see this could be negative, if it is used ironically. As mentioned in the comments, the only person who knows for sure is the one who said it. The meaning of spoken words depends on intention, it's impossible for us to know the intention of the speaker. If you are unsure, you could ask.

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