Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Developer Productivity

Developer Productivity

This post is not going to cover any programming topics, but I wanted you to know that recently I started my own company, so far it's going to be a freelance company but at some point in time I would like to expand it in some way and it's very likely that my first unit of business is going to be recruitment as being a recruiter and an applicant I see many flaws in the process and I would like to change that once and for all [and make some money as I do :-)].

Now onto the topic:

Working for others I had some cool ideas that could extend productivity but that never came info existence probably because large software companies in Europe go with the old management models and are afraid of change, sometimes I heard that this would not work of money was the issue.

In my own experience people work better and are much happier if they can learn new things that are in their area or interest, or at least are remotely interested with the topic. But sometimes developers are assigned to projects or tasks that they don't like and this makes them uninterested in work they do thus making them bored or frustrated or both and the end result is that they quit the job. Now I understand that sometimes developers cannot be assigned to tasks of projects that they are interested in but this doesn't mean it's just a matter of time before they quit, if a It dept is run smart everyone could be happy.

So here are the rules that should be employed to keep people productive and happy, it should note right away that those rules will only work if you'r passionate about your work as a Senior Dev/Manager if not don't bother then.

The Ideas:

1. Make Developer Days: This is a super cool thing to have and it's a shame that I never had an opportunity to do that in any company I worked for. A developer day is a one day in month that people spend on self development in any area they wish.

2. Make Maintenance A Fun RPG Game: When projects are finished they go to maintenance mode, and this is the most boring thing in the world and the history of the universe, so making it to an RPG game solves the problem. The rules are simple for each possible bug the tester is given XP and for each fixed bug a developer is given XP each team member can level up. XP is given for bug severity level and bonus XP is given for breaking bugs. There is a trophy that's sits on the desk of a person with the highest level and XP and each Friday the person with the highest XP is given this trophy.

For each level gained there is a small one time bonus that are free minutes to Day off, so when advancing a person is given an n*2 minutes for each level where n is base free minutes, my proposal is 5 minutes so:

level 2: 5 minutes
level 3: 10 minutes
level 4: 20 minutes
level 5: 40 minutes

So around level 10 a person gains a full day off, but the important thing is to reach that level one needs to fix a lot of bugs and some severe. I think that this bonus is much better that some sweets or better office chair because everyone one in a while needs a extra day off so this is how they can earn it.

Now this sort of system can be hard to track and maintain but it could be integrated into any bug tracking system and with Developer Days it's very likely that it will be implemented or improved during those days.

3. Talk with people: This is sort of obvious but the most obvious thins are omitted frequently, so do that and again by passionate. Another thing is that if you start a forced conversation about "how do u feel? and what would u change?" You may get no answers at all or get the answer you want to hear, and you will be missing the point. The point is talk about their, life, work but don't start a forced conversation.

4. Make anonymous drop box: Some people will never tell you what they think about the project you, or the company regardless of your best intentions, so make an anonymous topic box. This was anyone can drop a line there and you will know what the situation is, and the most important thing read those messages

Summing Up:

The firs two pints cover productivity really but point's three and fours are as equally important as they can determine if something cannot be improved changed to boost up productivity, and happiness. Now obviously there are other things that could be done so working in a company could look like a wonderland but those four if present are for the most part enough to satisfy me personally.

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