If you give McGyver a paper clip, ionized water, and a match, he could find Osama Bin Laden from his hotel room in Monaco. Equivalently, give a programmer a computer and he can give you the next version of Microsoft Office in AJAX (with just a little extra work over the weekend.)

Does it not seem the perception is that as long as programmers have what they need they should produce? Here is my list of items that I currently don’t have that I feel would improve my productivity (oh! oh!).

  1. An Office
    If your well read, you may be lucky enough to have read Peopleware and know the outstanding virtues of private offices. How do I politely tell my co-workers to leave me alone so I can work, especially without talking to them?
  2. Two HUGE monitors
    More workspace, more work. This is an extra 500-600 per developer, depending on the monitors they already have, but when you can’t hire more developers, CHEAP productivity is key, and relative to overpaying for a developer that may not be the quality desired, this is cheap.
  3. Constant Hardware upgrades
    Goes with the previous point. I’m very greatfull for getting the newest VS.NET version, but each version demands greater hardware. 100 bucks for another gig of ram, would save me several process switches.
  4. Water
    I need a Monkey that delivers me water. Oh and Lunch. I can drink a liter of water in about 20 minuets, so I have to get up and get another, which breaks my focus. I say monkey cause its probably improper of me to say Chinese intern.
  5. Travel
    Call it a Conference, call it knowledge building, maybe even profile building. But if you can make an excuse to send your developers across the country or maybe even out of the country on the companies dime, hot damn who would want to leave that job? Conference: 2000 dollars, Developer Salary less then Market Average: 5000 dollars, replacing a developer: (loss of 100% developer productivity) + (head hunter/job board fees) + (Higher salary of new guy to bring in) + (Loss of developer ramp up time) + (Uncertainty of developer skill), get the point?
  6. Good Chair
    I spend 80% of my day at work on my butt, and when its happy, I’m happy.
  7. Salary increases to meet market
    Who really knows what the market rate is? But when I see posts on craigslist and headhunters sending me jobs that pay 30-50% more then I’m making now, why would I want to stay at my present company? Sure they make me happy, but so would owning my own house, which surely could happen if I switched to that new job.
  8. Incentives of Extra features
    You get x amount of developers for 8 hours a day, so realisticly you can only produce at most x * 6 (no developer is going to get 8 solid hours of work in one normal day) hours worth of work. Yet when all those developers go home, they work on their development skills in a variety of technologies. Do you want them programming a partially functional Chat Client that serves you no purpose? or would you want them developing that Web 2.0, AJAX, COMET, (More Acronyms here) component that is 2 quarters down on your road map? The tricky thing is that most employees are not going to go through the complete hassle of unit testing, acceptance testing, integration testing, design write-up, clean development that is involved when producing something that is production ready, vs just a learning project, for free, or out of the goodness of their heart for the company. Going to have to be some kind of bonus, which if your catching on to the theme of this post, probably means money.
  9. Path to the Top
    Theres a wise phrase that says, “There are many paths to the mountain, but the wrong path leads nowhere”. When a developer wants to become a senior dev, what is required? This is likely my next post (I smell a rant), but lets just say, I’m not exactly sure whats required to become a senior dev.
  10. Pool Table
    Hey ping pong is all great and all, but sometimes it would just be nice to talk over a relaxing game of pool.
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