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Gorilla in the Mist

In software development, there is such a thing as a stupid question. It’s the question that every developer asks a millisecond before they suddenly realise that the answer is staring them in the face.

I’m a big advocate of knowledge sharing; any of my team being hit by a bus would be extremely disruptive to our business, and not just because we’d have to take the day off for the funeral. Each person is welcome, even encouraged, to talk through code problems and possible solutions with anyone else in the office. However, we are aware that often the problem we’ve hit is so simple that all we need to do is explain it to someone else; and, it may not be appropriate to interrupt a fellow developer’s concentration.

Jambo, the Development Gorilla


Hence Jambo, the Development Gorilla. Jambo, formerly a resident of Jersey Zoo, sits with the developers. If anybody has an issue that they know can be solved simply by explaining it, then they are welcome to explain it to Jambo safe in the knowledge that he will not judge, will not demand credit for solving the problem, won’t disappear off for a loo break part-way through, and most importantly will not offer up any opinions that may sidetrack the developer from their particular problem.

That’s the theory, any way. Jambo has been in our office for a sum total of an hour so far. It remains to be seen if he’ll stay.

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