Loud Thinking: Challenging life, software, and media
Friday, July 27, 2001 @ 15:22 | Challenge?

Peer promises boosts quality, productivity, and motivation

Technical promises made to developer peers instead of managers improves the chances that of realistic estimates without excessive padding, motivates people to perform to the best of their abilities, and make them less defensive about their work. This epiphany just arrived in my brain. Though it came as a bit of a surprise at first, it's not really that complicated: Your peers appreciate how you solve problems and (most) managers do not.

When solving problems for managers - or anyone who doesn't understand or appreciate the details of your work - you're likely to cut corners, let ugly patching slide, and spend time on unrelated work (if you're smart, your manager won't know the difference anyway). Less work gets done and it'll be of lower quality. Nobody likes that. Neither the developer nor the manager.

Managers should recognize this (the smart ones probably already have) and assign work in such a manner that peer promises becomes an important part of the workflow. If they do most developers will have to cease bullshitting their way out of deadlines and requirements and stop delivering sub-par products. The managers might now have caught it, but other developers certainly will.

If you're a developer, don't get your hopes up though. Regardless of the benefits, I doubt getting manager support for peer promises will be easy. It requires managers to recognize that they don't share the same respect from developers that other other developers do. I can't recall any managers willing to do that.

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