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Sri Shivananda
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While there may not be a universal numeric index, productivity is clearly visible, comparable in context and addressable / tunable. I have sometimes used a negative measure of "time wasted" in non code producing tasks as a close enough proxy. Productivity comparison across developers is a somewhat futile task. There are developers who are 10 times more "productive" in the same environment due to the difference in education, training, planning, discretionary effort, creativity etc. I believe measuring same developer productivity and eliminating or optimizing time spent in activities like developer desktop setup, workspace setup, builds, server start-up, hardware provisioning, dealing with engineering rot coming for bad code hygiene, deployment etc. should always be a goal for engineering leaders. Then there are personal productivity optimizations like how often you check email, how much time you spend in meetings or how you manage time slicing on a project that impact how productive a developer is as well.
Thanks for the article. It is amazing to see how few of the organizational design conversations actually reference and utilize conway's law as a design principle. I do believe a good, empowered enterprise architecture practice can actually dampen the affect of conway's law. However, it is a force that even in spite of best collaboration across teams, manifests in ugly ways sometimes causing organizational sclerosis. I think, decomposing a large system to components is also a discipline that requires a good modeling discipline and careful thought. Design the components too small and you will get complexity in architecture coming from a dense network of component dependencies in spite of organizational alignment to components. Design it too large and organizations supporting those components will have localized inefficiencies due to serialization of delivery and contention. Lastly, Conway's law affects are very clear in geographically diverse engineering organizations. Designing off-shored engineering organizations should be one of the first places to apply this principle.
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Dec 4, 2010