The Sage

A Highly Effective Software Developer that always knows the best way for a system to be designed and implemented.

Special Abilities

Ways of Future Past

Deep insight into past, present, and future technologies.

Balanced Perspective

Ability to recognize beneficial long term trade-offs.

Master Mentor

Can level-up the skills of developers around them.

Overview

The Sage provides their team with the wisdom they need to make wise choices. They are typically very experienced, having worked on many different projects under a wide variety of circumstances. Sages give advice based on having broad experiential knowledge as well as deep insight into the best ways to design software systems.

A Sage’s recommendations can help their team avoid major mistakes that can affect the long-term success of the project. They are passionate about creating systems whose overarching design is both applicable for what is being asked for today, as well as suitable what may be asked for in the future. Sages excel at striking a balance between providing sound judgment regarding the here-and-now and offering insight into an often unpredictable future.

Sages possess the uncanny ability to be right when measured over a long enough period of time. In the short term, however, it can be a challenge for people to understand the value of a Sage’s advice and how important it is to follow it. Their greatest opportunity for improvement is in fully embracing that not everyone will take their advice the first time they give it, but that time is on their side.

Identification Checklist

  • Will frequently be approached by other software developers for advice.
  • Will offer guidance that is both valued and appreciated by other software developers.
  • Will invest their time in helping software developer progress in their career.

Common Misconceptions

  • Sages are not acting as The Formerly Technical, as they are still highly capable software developers.
  • Sages are not The Idealist, as their focus is on improving the people who write code, not necessarily improving the code directly.
  • Sages are not The Aspiring Manager, as they are motivated to help improve the theoretical and applied knowledge of developers regardless of whether or not they report to them.

Supporting Team Members

  • The Healer, The Mechanic, and The Wizard are all excellent collaborators to help decide the best ways to improve and extend the system.
  • The Ranger will help make the Sage aware of new technologies worth considering.
  • The Telepath will help uncover detailed requirements that the Sage uses when recommending how the system should be built.

Typical Soft Skills Scorecard

  • Sages will spend a lot of time coaching other developers and tend to have little time left for completing their own work, making it important that they maintain a high level of Productivity.
  • Sages will tend to have very broad and deep levels of knowledge, and will keep their skills sharp by maintaining a high level of Curiosity.
  • Sages will sometimes have to compromise doing the right thing to satisfy stakeholders, in which case they will need a high degree of Business Focus and Risk Tolerance.

Showing Appreciation

  • Sages appreciate being given the time to expound upon topics that may seem simple to others but they know are very complex.
  • Sages appreciate when they are asked for their point of view, so that they are not put in a position where they must impose their opinion.
  • Sages enjoy seeing software developers’ code quality and development practices improve as a result of their coaching, so that they know their time is being well spent.

2 thoughts on “The Sage

    • I meet the criteria and description but will caveat that it’s only when I am in my area of expertise in building web applications. If I was put in a field I didn’t know very well (Game design, AI, Data Science, etc.) I would most definitely not be a sage.

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