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In my manager past, the times i've asked for crunch mode are few and far in between, and I always put a carrot at the end, depending on the severity of the crunch. Anywhere from a nice lunch at a fancy restaurant, to a few days off. I've even dangled a team building movie matinee. I've never found cash to be a real big motivator.

My 2 simple rules for crunch mode:

1. Manager better be there. Me personally, i would dive in and actually start doing code reviews. But even if I had absolutely nothing to add, I had to be there to show support. Even for window dressing. You call for crunch mode, you better be present. Even if its just to buy lunch or starbucks for the devs.

2. Coding is like breathing. Crunch mode inhale must be followed by re-tooling, decompressing exhale. You can only inhale so much.

I'm pretty sure you've never managed me, so don't take this as a personal attack, but nothing makes me more disgruntled than the management announcing that a month of overtime (estimated market cost to me: more than £1500) will be followed by a nice lunch at a fancy restaurant (estimated market cost to the company: less than £50). The two are not remotely comparable, and to think of it as a carrot (or worse, a quid pro quo) when in fact it's much closer to a thank-you for a favour is infuriating.

Your two rules are...minimally adequate, I guess. They're certainly nothing to pat yourself on the back about.

If the cash carrot works for you, then great. On the converse side, one of the main things i look for when building teams, above developer skill is craft and commitment. I try to say away from gunslingers as much as possible.

Which is why I can get away with my minimally adequate rules as you've put it. I certainly dont pat myself in the back about my rules. Its all about sharing the pain. I also forgot my 3rd rule. Only developers set deadlines so I can ask them to commit to it. If we have a date to hit, then we work on scope.

No, you misunderstand (though I didn't phrase what I meant very clearly). I'm not particularly interested in additional money above my salary, I'd prefer free time. My point is that if you are going to look at things in the light of P&L (and, as a manager, your superiors definitely will be), offering a "carrot" (which is a loathsome metaphor - developers are not donkeys) of less than 3% of the gain to the company is just insulting.

I think we're in some sort of agreement here. As I touched on my original comment, depending on the severity of the crunch, I will ask for (yes I was in middle management, blech) and offer days off. I agree that a lunch, no matter how nice it is, is no replacement for a 3 month death march. What you're latching onto are what I use for minor, not more than a few days things.

Though its usually a nightmare for me to work this out with HR, days off to me can mean actual vacation time which to me, is more precious than cash. It can also mean time doing cool stuff, or as the late Steven Covey would put it, time to spend "sharpening the axe" like making a presentation on the latest version of FizzBangWow product/language/framework, trips to conferences. I've even had devs prefer to work on clearing out technical debt. That's craft.

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