QCon London 2013: Programmer's Product-ivity


I might have also some other utility but as VP of Engineering at Zemanta the primary metric of my performance is productivity of programmers in my team. Even though I concern myself a lot with it, I've never actually analyzed the word productivity itself. It came therefore as a quite a surprising revelation, when today at QCon Dan North pointed out a simple fact that the root of productivity is product, product-ivity. It's not code-ivity, test-ivity, specification-ivity, design-ivity, and it's certainly not feature-ivity. It's the amount of end product acomplished in a given time. The term productivity came about in the industrial age. I don't know if the term was  invented by F.W. Taylor, but it very much fits into his world view. Through a series of utter misconceptions and a big dose of male chauvinism  we ended up using word productivity also to measure effectiveness of work of programmers. While the process how we started to use this word for this particular concept might be flawed, I actually think it denotes very well the contemporary view that an effective programmer is not the one who produces lots of lines of codes or lots of features, but the one who produces the most business value in the form of a working product used by actual users.

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