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To All Businesspeople: Developers Need Space to Do Whatever They Want (programmerfriend.com)
22 points by M0dev 3 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 12 comments

Unless you're a FAANG your company probably doesn't have the cash on hand to hire 2x as many developers as they need to let them "personally develop" on the clock.

We also never have time to fix TD because we are too busy creating it. It's all a question of managing resources, for a small startup or a Medium-sized company, if really stop to listener our "drones" we would waste so much resources

For almost any developer salary, you can go out and hire someone for half the amount, so it seems like just a matter of whether the benefit outweighs the costs.

The assumption is that developers, like bricklayers, can do a certain amount of work per hour, and hiring twice as many will get twice as much done.

One great idea well executed at a company could save the need for an entire team of developers from being hired to do some mundane maintenance shit ... such is the leverage from code.

I don't get how "let your developers do whatever they want" equates to playing with some "shiny new thing". Most companies have a training budget that should allow for learning new technologies, even ones not directly applicable.

If I had the opportunity to do what I wanted on company time it would 99% of the time be fixing some technical debt in the existing code; reworking something with a different/speculative architecture; or build some tools to automate anything that gets in the way of doing more meaningful work.

I agree that developers should be given a lot more space then they are given today however:

- I think it should be constant, not a day every now and then;

- I think it should be in the context of their current work;

- I think it should be an integral part of product building.

I remember reading a nice post from Basecamp [0] about how they structure their work. It felt like a nice way to go about it.

> Once a six week cycle is over, we take one or two weeks off of scheduled projects so everyone can roam independently, fix stuff up, pick up some pet projects we’ve wanted to do, and generally wind down prior to starting the next six week cycle. Ample time for context switching. We also use this time to firm up ideas that we’ll be tackling next cycle. More on this in a bit.

[0] https://m.signalvnoise.com/how-we-structure-our-work-and-tea...

Everything mentioned here applies to any professional discipline. In my role, I consider it to be my responsibility to both myself and my employer to figure out how to stay up to speed on my own time. That way when a particular skill or area of knowledge is needed in my current role, or when I need it to leverage myself into a new role, I have that knowledge or those skills. Giving me the time or the opportunity to do that work isn’t my employers responsibility.

I like to push the idea that software is like a garden. You plant your crops and hope to have a good harvest for a few years. You have to pull weeds and spay for bugs along the way. You can't just constantly plant new seeds constantly and ignore all the other work required for a successful harvest.

With that headline, I was expecting this to be satire.

Put another way, is there any particular reason developers need this when other white-collar professionals don't? I'm sure most, say, doctors would love to have some space as well, since the medical field evolves as fast if not faster than computing.

Not sure, but some of the best code I ever wrote, and most beneficial to my employer, started as undirected side projects.

Often there's little opportunity when pushing directly against the brick wall of entrenched interests. But heading off on a tangent can produce wins that those interests aren't prepared to block.

> doctors would love to have some space as well, since the medical field evolves as fast if not faster than computing.

They are required by their state boards to get a certain number of CME hours every year. There's no such requirement for software developers.

Did anyone claim other professions wouldn't benefit from this?

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