For the Software developer bestiary

The Snake Tamer

Quote: “Sure boss that’s a great idea! It will cost us a bit more than what we can afford, but I have already talked to the guys in the project next door and they’ll pay half if they can use our code.”

Also known as: The Diplomat (Can sometimes be confused with The Ass-kisser, but doesn't kiss ass for personal reasons)

A snake tamer can be the difference between success and failure in any project where there are people from different departments or companies interested in the outcome. The snake tamer has a talent for handling politics in a way that everybody thinks that they get what they wanted and that they get credit for the idea.

Several types of bad guys can be neutralized completely by a good snake tamer and a project member with good skills, but some unwanted characteristics, can be put to good use by the tamer. Absence of a snake tamer often leads to territorial infighting, communication problems between managers and developers and decisions based on pride instead of logic.


A snake tamer has a gut feeling for corporate politics and likes to be the power behind the throne. He deals and schemes, but has no need to get credit for everything that gest done: He gladly lets management think they came up with all the good ideas. He can immediately identify bad guys within the project and knows what to do with them, either directly or indirectly.

Staffing The ideal place for a snake tamer is in the middle of the hierarchy, not too high up and not too far down. Technical project manager or Software Architect snake tamers can be your best friends.

N.B. It really is "snake tamer" not "snake charmer" and there's a reason for this that's too long to include here.

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