10 Jul 2012. comments
During the industrial age it was common to hear people romantically refer to their work ethic by the incredible number of hours they worked. The calculation many people had in their minds was that working a ton of hours correlated to long term success. This actually made a fair amount of sense given that if you put in N hours you might be able to make N widgets, wheras if you put in N+5 hours you could make N+5 widgets.
But software software development doesn’t work like that. It’s been a long time since there was a strong case made for equating more hours input with more success output. In fact working with software is much more about working smarter, not harder. You can put in quite a small number of hours worked intelligently and get a spectacular amount of success. In terms of overall success, it’s usually a combination of elegant technical solutions married with great opportunities.
Many software shops that have historically been using waterfall find it challenging to accept that 100% resource utilization isn’t valuable. It’s much more important to prioritize work, limit your work in progress, and deliver working software early and often. Otherwise you’ll just have a lack of focus and a dilution of talent across too many objectives that are never achieved.