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Motivating Programmers

Frank Kelly has published some good ideas about how to motivate developers. If you manage programmers, you will find it valuable.

I think one of the things vastly overlooked in some large, complex corporate environments is the drag that non-programming activities can have on productivity. In my experience, the more busy work to be done (meetings, status reports, team-building exercises, etc.), the more productivity can take a major hit.

What many don't realize is that it isn't just the time these activities take that suck the productivity from the programmer. It is also the illogical aspects of some of these things that can push developers to a mental state where they have trouble completing their programming tasks. This is because programmers tend to be logical and rational. The more management adds layers of minutia on top of the actual work in an attempt to figure out why a project is behind schedule or verify productivity or whatever, the more de-motivated a programmer will become, because they see the precious hours for completing real tasks diminished. Programming is primarily a thinking job - if the developer has trouble focusing the inevitable result is a decrease in productivity.

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