You’re doing productivity wrong. Actually, it’s worse than that. You have no idea what it is. And no, this isn’t some sort of technical, jargon-y sense where I’m arguing over whether to measure it in terms of lines of code, hours spent typing code, or something else. Your core understanding of productivity is entirely wrong, and it’s making your company worse at everything it does.
Productivity in the software world is discussed in terms of the individual, and usually phrased as getting more of a person’s time on the thing they were hired for. “Hey, I didn’t hire you to talk to users or attend training! I hired you to write code!” Even the developers join in: “Every minute I spend in meetings instead of writing code is wasting company money.”
Excuse the rant, but I am tired of getting this question. Every couple of months somebody seems to ask it. It’s always someone outside of the product development team. Usually, it’s somebody from Operations or Marketing (no offense!) who is anxiously awaiting for their pet project to be finished.
It plays out like this… The co-worker walks over to tech side of the office one day at 6pm, sees some empty desks, and then assumes the team is not working hard enough. Okay, I get it. From your perspective, “butts in seats” has been a good proxy for productivity. Here’s why it doesn’t quite work that way for the technical team.
This year’s debut NewCo Boston festival was outstanding — and I’m going to show why by not mentioning any Boston companies at all.
Although most of the action yesterday was in Boston proper, I spent the day visiting companies more on the city’s periphery. To get to them, I drove north from Boston on Route 128, then west on Route 9, home to many of the companies that made Massachusetts’ reputation as a center of business and technological innovation in generations past, such as Polaroid, Wang, Data General and DEC. And I learned that the new Boston innovation renaissance doesn’t much care about city limits.