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The Focusing Illusion of Developer Productivity

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Video and slides synchronized, mp3 and slide download available at URL https://bit.ly/370F7fh.

Courtney Hemphill talks about some of the historical precedents (and disasters) of incentive structures; looking not just at software but various industries that require complex and creative efforts between diverse teams. Filmed at qconsf.com.

Courtney Hemphill is a Partner and Technical Lead at Carbon Five. She is currently managing the NYC team and helping companies in insurance and finance develop cloud-native, test-driven, continuous delivery software for data management, APIs, and new product creation. She mentors for TechStars, is an advisor to several startups, and organizes coding workshops for women.

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The Focusing Illusion of Developer Productivity

  1. 1. The Focusing Illusion of Developer Productivity
  2. 2. InfoQ.com: News & Community Site • Over 1,000,000 software developers, architects and CTOs read the site world- wide every month • 250,000 senior developers subscribe to our weekly newsletter • Published in 4 languages (English, Chinese, Japanese and Brazilian Portuguese) • Post content from our QCon conferences • 2 dedicated podcast channels: The InfoQ Podcast, with a focus on Architecture and The Engineering Culture Podcast, with a focus on building • 96 deep dives on innovative topics packed as downloadable emags and minibooks • Over 40 new content items per week Watch the video with slide synchronization on InfoQ.com! https://www.infoq.com/presentations/ developer-efficiency-diverse-teams/
  3. 3. Purpose of QCon - to empower software development by facilitating the spread of knowledge and innovation Strategy - practitioner-driven conference designed for YOU: influencers of change and innovation in your teams - speakers and topics driving the evolution and innovation - connecting and catalyzing the influencers and innovators Highlights - attended by more than 12,000 delegates since 2007 - held in 9 cities worldwide Presented at QCon San Francisco www.qconsf.com
  4. 4. Carbon Five @carbonfive Partner and Technical Lead @ Carbon Five @chemphill courtney@carbonfive.com Courtney Hemphill
  5. 5. “The focusing illusion is a cognitive bias that occurs when people place too much importance on one aspect of an event, causing an error in accurately predicting the utility of a future outcome” Focusing Illusion @chemphill
  6. 6. 😀 66% How happy are you? ➤ How many dates? @chemphill 1 Strack, Martin, Schwarz, Priming and communication: Social determinants of information use in judgments of life satisfaction, 1988
  7. 7. @chemphill How many dates? ➤ How happy are you? 😫 12% 1 Strack, Martin, Schwarz, Priming and communication: Social determinants of information use in judgments of life satisfaction, 1988
  8. 8. @chemphill 2 Kahneman, Krueger, Schkade, Schwarz, Stone, Would You Be Happier If You Were Richer? A Focusing Illusion 2006
  9. 9. @chemphill 3 Kahneman,Thinking Fast and Slow, 2011
  10. 10. @chemphill
  11. 11. @chemphill Frederick Winslow Taylor (1856-1915) • Standardization (speed-and-feed slide rules) • Time and motion studies (Frank & Lillian Gilbreth) • Gantt charts (Henry Gantt) • Wage incentives • Statistical methods, quality assurance and quality control  • > Fordism, Lean, Agile
  12. 12. The Bad @chemphill • Mechanistic and inhuman • Eugenics • Skills and initiatives are controlled by management • False dichotomy of craft and business • Efficiency over creativity  * standard, mechanistic, inflexible, and precise
  13. 13. @chemphill CC @ https://thearsenalonthecharles.com/ 4 Watertown Arsenal Strike, 1911
  14. 14. @chemphill Cork Walgreen (1935-2016) • CEO of Walgreens 1971 - 1998 • $1/share in 1975 > $562/share in 2000 • Aligned leaders around mission for convenience • Won the game by changing the metric from profit per store to profit per customer visit • Dominated major competitors (Eckerd)
  15. 15. @chemphill Wells Fargo (Gr-eight initiative) (Jan 2011 - July 2015) • Internal goal: at least eight financial products per customer • District managers discussed daily sales for each branch and employee "four times a day, at 11 am, 1 pm, 3 pm and 5 pm. • Turned a blind eye when ethical and even legal lines were crossed • "cutthroat" environment that caused employees to fear for their job and make "bad ethical choices." • 190,000 accounts w/ fraudulent fees, $3.5M fake accounts, $185 million in fines • Fired 5,300 employees
  16. 16. @chemphill Indra Nooyi (2006-2018) • CEO of PepsiCo • Revenue $35B-> $63.5 billion • Share price nearly doubled • Mission: making healthier foods & protecting the planet • Employee initiated net zero potato chip plant • PepsiCo's shares have gained 19.45% for the last twelve months and 49.20% for the last five years, compared to 15.75% and 22.13% for Coca-Cola. 5 Safian, Fortune, “It’s Got To Be A Passion, It’s Gotta Be Your Calling”: Indra Nooyi, 2014
  17. 17. Overemphasis on Highly Visible Behaviors @chemphill • Bugs • Test Coverage • Function points CC @ dilbert.com
  18. 18. Measurement Myopia @chemphill Mandate > Metric to meet the Mandate > Focus on Metric > Developers spend their time figuring out how to measure that metric Is this the best method of working towards the goal??
  19. 19. Incentivizing Ownership (Renters don't take pride in their homes. Only homeowners do.) Scoping out @chemphill
  20. 20. Work that has a real or perceived value that meets a demand. Ownership / no need to get permission from a higher power Safety / there are a certain amount of protections put into place to ensure safety and security are guaranteed Information / free access to information that is relevant to that market Market Economies @chemphill
  21. 21. Supply of work that has a real or perceived value that meets a demand. Ownership @chemphill
  22. 22. Supply of work that has a real or perceived value that meets a demand. • Assets • Motive of self-interest • Freedom of decision Ownership @chemphill
  23. 23. Collective (agile) > Weak > Strong @chemphill • Strong / limited situations (code spikes, specialized small module, never?) • Weak / not always intentional & can deteriorate into non-ownership • Collective / collectively owned, but responsibilities and schedules are clear. Each team member can work across subsystems or services as needed 6 Martin Fowler https://martinfowler.com/bliki/CodeOwnership.html
  24. 24. The people who have done the most work on a piece of code are the ones who make the fewest mistakes. @chemphill Code Quality 7 Patanamon Thongtanunam ; Shane McIntosh ; Ahmed E. Hassan ; Hajimu Iida Revisiting Code Ownership and Its Relationship with Software Quality in the Scope of Modern Code Review
  25. 25. Supply of work that has a real or perceived value that meets a demand. • Assets • Motive of self-interest • Freedom of decision Ownership @chemphill
  26. 26. Lockean Proviso @chemphill “…custom places an obligation on the owner/dictator to credit contributors fairly (through, for example, appropriate mentions in README or history files). In terms of the Lockean property model, this means that by contributing to a project you earn part of its reputation return (positive or negative). 8 Copyright © 2000 Eric S. Raymond, Homesteading the Noosphere BDFL - “enough and as good for others”
  27. 27. Supply of work that has a real or perceived value that meets a demand. • Assets • Motive of self-interest • Freedom of decision Ownership @chemphill
  28. 28. Agency @chemphill Control/Risk Agency Low variance, well understood, small project (waterfall) OSS, direct access to customers, tight feedback loops Amazing, requires A++ communication and lots of trust Failure and attrition
  29. 29. Product Vision @chemphill • Access to business fundamentals • Customer context and empathy • Working the warehouse • Rotating on customer service calls • Internal customers • Internal tooling teams, API teams • Full stack experience to gain empathy
  30. 30. 9 cc Product Dartboard @ https://www.productdartboard.com@chemphill
  31. 31. A protected, level playing field Safety @chemphill
  32. 32. First Principles @chemphill • Sufficiently general • Publicly promulgated (published) • Prospective (i.e., applicable only to future behavior, not past) • At least minimally clear and intelligible • Free of contradictions • Relatively constant, so that they don't continuously change from day to day • Possible to obey • Administered in a way that does not wildly diverge from their obvious or apparent meaning. “The life of the law has not been logic: it has been experience.” 10 Lon Luvois Fuller, The Morality of Law (1964)
  33. 33. Reversible Risk @chemphill • Testing + Code standards • PR reviews (done well) • Blameless post-mortems • QA environments where breaking things is totally allowed and encouraged • Deploys that go out a little bit at a time • Roll back a deploy easily • Notifications and alerts (monitoring) • Observability (proactive) Make it easy to do the right thing rather than hard to do the wrong thing
  34. 34. Without information, we fall to system 1 thinking Information @chemphill
  35. 35. Communication Strategy @chemphill “People are communicating beings, doing best face-to-face, in person, with real-time question and answer.” 11 Cockburn, Agile Software Development, 2001
  36. 36. Communication Effectiveness @chemphill 12 Ambysoft 2008 Agile Principles and Practices survey
  37. 37. Visibility @chemphill • Clear concise power point wins over extensive documentation • Tell them, tell them what you told them, tell them again (military) • Tell people what you're working on (13 Julia Evans) • Dashboards, metrics, easy access to observe ability and monitoring tools • To prevent collaboration from killing you, small units that do a few things well and expose good APIs and/or contracts There is a half-life to communication.
  38. 38. @chemphill “Emerson conceived of an organic organization where efficiency was a natural occurrence, not an imposed set of targets and procedures” - Witzel, Morgen"A short history of efficiency." Business Strategy Review (2002)
  39. 39. carbonfive.com Thanks! courtney@carbonfive.com @chemphill
  40. 40. @chemphill 1. Strack, Martin, Schwarz, Priming and communication: Social determinants of information use in judgments of life satisfaction, 1988 2. Kahneman, Krueger, Schkade, Schwarz, Stone, Would You Be Happier If You Were Richer? A Focusing Illusion, 2006 3. Kahneman,Thinking Fast and Slow, 2011 4. Watertown Arsenal Strike 5. Safian, Fortune, “It’s Got To Be A Passion, It’s Gotta Be Your Calling”: Indra Nooyi, 2014 6. Martin Fowler https://martinfowler.com/bliki/CodeOwnership.html 7. Patanamon Thongtanunam ; Shane McIntosh ; Ahmed E. Hassan ; Hajimu Iida, Revisiting Code Ownership and Its Relationship with Software Quality in the Scope of Modern Code Review 8. Eric S. Raymond, Homesteading the Noosphere, 2000 9. Product Dartboard @ https://www.productdartboard.com 10. Lon Luvois Fuller, The Morality of Law (1964) 11. Cockburn, Agile Software Development, 2001 12. Ambysoft 2008 Agile Principles and Practices survey 13. Tell people what you are working on, Julia Evans References
  41. 41. Watch the video with slide synchronization on InfoQ.com! https://www.infoq.com/presentations/ developer-efficiency-diverse-teams/

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