The best developers optimize every aspect of their lives. Optimization is built into their DNA. We are always looking for ways to not repeat ourselves and strive to make everything we do faster. Everything from doing the dishes to serialization. If it’s not as fast as it possibly could be, then we spend countless hours making it so. Now as a manager I get to code a bit, but a big part of what I’m responsible for is optimizing developer productivity. I have a long way to go, but I have definitely improved as a manager over the last 10 years, so I thought I would share what I have learned. Hopefully this will help the newbie and seasoned managers alike.
I’m sure there will be a few of you out there that disagree with the above and that’s a good thing! You aren’t dead inside. You see developers as more than just a resource that churns out code. Developers are people too. The advice above will guarantee high attrition. If your goal is to ship at all costs, then the price you’ll pay will be counted in the number of developers who have left your team.
The above was fun to write, but it is obviously very bad advice. Keep reading to see my honest take on developer productivity.
I believe that a happy dev team is more productive. The second you realize that every single one of your developers could be doing something else with their time, you don’t take them for granted. They won’t turn down more money, but money isn’t the be all and end all for developers. They want fun, interesting, challenging and meaningful work. It’s up to managers to set the team up for success by finding out what makes them tick and doing everything they can to remove obstacles. Some obstacles are imposed by the manager. Not fostering training hinders progress. Not caring about quality crushes motivation. Not rewarding leads to disenfranchisement.
You can start helping with dev productivity by taking baby steps. Hear from you team about what makes them tick. Prioritize and execute and repeat.
- My Thoughts on Work/Life Balance at Microsoft
- My Thoughts on the Microsoft Career Model - Do I have to get into management to be successful at Microsoft?
- My Thoughts on the Microsoft Employee Review Model
- Microsoftie Perks - Why I love working at Microsoft
- How to get a job at Microsoft
Thanks to John Kurlak, James Trott, Jim Gale, Wallace Breza and Danny Graham for reviewing this post. Thanks to them the post doubled in length, but their comments helped turn this into a complete post.