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I am the VP of a software development shop in transition right now. At one point this was a staffing firm, and it is just now undergoing the transition from staffing (a very interrupt driven workflow) to software engineering / development (a considerably more methodology based workflow.) Unfortunately, a lot of the management still has the pre/industrial mindset that productivity == seat time. I happen to feel otherwise. I have a hard time, ethically, imposing antiquated industrial methods for measuring worker effectiveness, on workers in what is basically a knowledge economy.

If, within reason, my developers come in at 9:30 and feel like leaving at 4:00, it's fine with me. For I trust them enough to understand that if they are leaving, it is not because they are taking advantage of the situation, but because they feel that they are "done" for the day. These are the same developers that are sometimes at the office until 3 a.m., who are willing to work 16 hours on a weekend, who are willing to slave on a product, if need, be, to meet a deliverable. However, the management does not understand the nature of knowledge-work, and has given me some grief about how sometimes, *gasp* developers are not around at 4:00, or maybe they come in at 10.

Now, if deliverables were to start slipping, and I saw a general lack of responsiveness and a downgrade in quality, I would react with a more stringent set of requirements, however, until that time comes (which I hope is never, we have worked hard to put together a strong team, and a good atmosphere,) I refuse to bend on this.

However! My life would be made considerably easier, if I could present a series of arguments, from recognized professionals, and maybe a study or two, as to how the productivity of a shop that allows more psychological freedom can match (if not eclipse) one run under more draconian code.

I appreciate any anecdotes or pointers that you might be able to provide me with.

In reply to On programmer schedules and productivity by eduardo

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