What Developers Want

If you are a Development Manager here are 5 things that your Developers will thank you for.

1. Quiet: Developers want and need quiet uninterrupted time to write code and solve problems. Remember those “thought problems” in school? Every development problem is a thought problem, on multiple projects simultaneously. The need for continuous hours of quiet, uninterrupted code writing is crucial. Uninterrupted means absolutely uninterrupted. Do all you can to restrict direct access to Developers.

For the definitive answer on quiet, and why it is craved by Developers and not a management priority, see Paul Graham’s post: Maker’s Schedule, Manager’s Schedule.

2. GSD: Cut the non essentials and Get Stuff Done: Read Getting Real, by Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson (37 Signals, now Basecamp).

3. Trust: One good Developer will accomplish more than 10 average Developers. Find your top-10 Developer(s). Trust him/her to guide you in the right direction. Don’t manage by committee or consensus.

4. Flexibility: Developers are unique individuals. Developers will get more done working at home than when working in the office. They will thank you if you can solve simple life problems, like suggesting work at home while waiting on a delivery. Learn the unique ways to reward each developer.

5. Professionalism: There are 2 types of Developers: (Type B) those that go home after 8 hours and (Type A); those that code at home, read about development, go to meet-ups and conferences, teach others, and contribute code to the open-source community. Promote and protect your Type A professionals.

One last idea for the non-Developer Development Manager. Learn how to code and learn the language that your Developers speak. If you take this as a homework assignment to do on your own time, you will better empathize with the Developer who is working after hours, or the one on call for production code.

“One really good person will get done in a day what ten not-so-good people will never get done.”
~James M. Spitze, SCC Sequoia