We are a software development team. Our boss wants to do everything by himself. We write and check in code. He goes in and modifies everything. The problem is, he rips out well written, production code, and adds his own. We lose time testing it. When his stuff doesn't work, he keeps adding the code that he removed until the issues are fixed. But, he doesn't add our notes/comments, etc. Many times it looks like, he did it just to remove our names and comments from the code base.

A bunch couldn't tolerate this, and have left. But, some of us can't (lack of time to prepare for interviews, so on).

He is the owner of the company. What's the best thing to do?

  • Are you junior programmer? – Justas Jun 15 '17 at 20:56
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    If he "goes in and modifies everything" for what, exactly, is he paying you? Either he is an idiot or is lonely or there is a bit more to the story that we need to know to help you. – user45269 Jun 15 '17 at 20:57
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    Spaces?! Ok - even weirder! Most IDEs should have a plug-in for spacing - let him pick it and be done! :) Good luck. – user45269 Jun 15 '17 at 21:28
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    @onetwothree Also, there are tools out there like re-sharper that allows companies to set programming standards such as capitalization, spacing, and formatting that will prompt the user when it is not done to standards. One thing though that strikes me from reading is... spacing and style formatting that are typically aesthetic things in most languages shouldn't break code. So the issue has to be something more than spacing as many languages today ignore white space. – ggiaquin16 Jun 15 '17 at 21:49
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    @onetwothree we're not really a venting board; if you're not looking for an answer then probably this question will be closed. – Erik Jun 16 '17 at 6:59

You're in a crappy situation and you have my sympathies you really do. There is one sentence in your post that stands out:

He is the owner of the company.

Unfortunately that pretty much trumps everything, it's his trainset - his rules. What he's doing is bad practice, it is most likely harmful to the long term success but it's highly unlikely he will change barring some large change in circumstance that massively reduces his availability to spend the time and effort doing what he does or some kind of serious screw up that causes him to reassess his attitude.

Honestly at this point I would disconnect as much as possible from this role (remaining professional and doing your work of course) and start hunting for something else. You mention a lack of time to prep for interviews but I think you're going to have to make time.

Sorry if this sounds harsh but I genuinely think that you could pour massive amounts of time and energy into this organisation and it won't change - then you're exhausted and facing the job hunt (been there, done that!).

  • People are scared of him. You are right.. I need to start reading and preparing for interviews.. Thanks for talking sense to me! – onetwothree Jun 16 '17 at 21:14

I have never worked as a programmer, but I have had a boss that liked to micromanage every project she handed out. The best thing that has always worked for me in any situation is communication. Talk to your boss. In a professional and polite way, explain that you feel you are being held back from using your skillset. Ask if there are some upcoming projects that he/she would like input or advice on. That should make him/her think about what skills you have and realize that you could be more helpful if you were allowed more creative freedom. Look for any open opportunities to fill a gap. If there is something you notice would be great for your company to produce, but they haven't yet, do it yourself and offer it up as a project you can lead. That should show your boss that you have initiative as well as show off your skills and knowledge. These tips worked with my boss. They may not work with every boss. In which case, if you can't get anything out of your job and you feel like everything you offer your job is declined, look for something similar at a new company that will appreciate your skills. This time, you'll know what questions to ask before you get started about the company dynamics and expected tasks you'll be asked to complete.

  • @erik: "we're not really a venting board; if you're not looking for an answer...." --> OK. Can I ask one of you to come down to our office, and talk to him? No - right? There is no answer - just need an advise from people who have experienced something like this to a new guy like me. – onetwothree Jun 16 '17 at 21:09

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