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Developer Productivity Presentation

Filed under: Work — Thomas @ 15:50


Dear interweb,

recently I've been doing a bunch of thinking on how to have productive developers. We've been having some discussions on the topic on the business side, and there are things that I take for granted that aren't always as obvious to the more commercial side. Things like, 'flow is the most important part', 'context switches should be avoided', or 'a 3 month deadline for development with 1.5 months of testing/deployment/... can be given double the development work with only 50% more time'.

So I started thinking it would be nice to be able to give a quick presentation to those people, explaining some of the basic concepts they should consider, and references to back it up (studies, papers, ...) that give some weight to the argument beyond 'trust me, I know because I'm a developer'.

I went out googling for something like this but I didn't find anything, possibly because I don't know what to look for. It seems like something useful for any kind of technical/dev manager.

If you have an idea, please let me know!


  1. The book Code Complete references a bunch of studies, though some are quite old. I agree there is a paucity of studies. One of my favorite studies by Lutz Prechelt discusses dynamic languages and their benefits, but also contains this chunk, which appears to discount the advantages of dynamic languages: “Interpersonal variability, that is the capability and behavior differences between programmers using the same language, tends to account for more differences between programs than a change of programming language” [0]

    Good luck

    0 – http://page.mi.fu-berlin.de/prechelt/Biblio/jccpprtTR.pdf

    Comment by matt harrison — 2009-10-30 @ 16:42

  2. I enjoyed this slide deck I came across recently. I wish I could have seen the actual presentation.


    The entire point of the presentation is that we need to start backing up assertions and assumptions with actual facts, and the second half of the presentation is full of citations of published papers. Some of the conventional wisdom is confirmed, but a lot is unintuitive.

    Comment by Joe Shaw — 2009-10-30 @ 16:46

  3. I wonder if I can successfully embed it in a wordpress comment. If this fails, feel free to delete this. :)

    Bits of EvidenceView more presentations from Greg Wilson.

    Comment by Joe Shaw — 2009-10-30 @ 17:00

  4. Peopleware is a pretty good book which mentions all of these points and more. I had it for a while and just recently managed to read it.

    Comment by Christof — 2009-10-30 @ 18:18

  5. Here’s some very interesting MS research I was pointed to today. Nagappan looks like one to watch.


    Comment by matt harrison — 2009-11-07 @ 07:56

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