Survey on the Effects of Organizational Culture on Software Productivity

Discussion in 'C Programming' started by bruce_taylor@unisoncoaching.com, Sep 18, 2005.

  1. Guest

    Please forgive me if this is a little off topic, but I'm trying to
    reach a population of active programmers and this newsgroup is an
    popular gathering place.

    I am conducting research on the relationship between some components of
    organizational culture and the productivity of individual programmers,
    development teams, and software companies. If you would be willing to
    take 5 minutes to answer a few questions, you would help me very much
    and win my undying gratitude.

    This is NOT a stealth marketing campaign or a recruiting troll. Your
    data is collected completely anonymously and will be reported only as
    aggregate statistics.

    If you're willing to take the survey, please go to this URL:

    http://www.surveymonkey.com/s.asp?u=596961324075&c=4

    In any case, I thank you for your time and attention

    Bruce
    , Sep 18, 2005
    #1
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  2. wrote:
    > I am conducting research on the relationship between some components of
    > organizational culture and the productivity of individual programmers,
    > development teams, and software companies.


    This is easy. The more people who say things like "relationship between
    some components of organizational culture and the productivity of
    individual programmers" in a company, the less work can get done and the
    less satisfying the job.
    Martin Ambuhl, Sep 18, 2005
    #2
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  3. Richard Heathfield, Sep 18, 2005
    #3
  4. In article <>,
    <> wrote:
    >
    > Please forgive me if this is a little off topic, but I'm trying to
    > reach a population of active programmers and this newsgroup is an
    > popular gathering place.
    >
    > I am conducting research on the relationship between some components of
    > organizational culture and the productivity of individual programmers,
    > development teams, and software companies. If you would be willing to
    > take 5 minutes to answer a few questions, you would help me very much
    > and win my undying gratitude.
    >
    > This is NOT a stealth marketing campaign or a recruiting troll. Your
    > data is collected completely anonymously and will be reported only as
    > aggregate statistics.


    Programmers are a bit more complex, and hence motivating them to be
    productive is a bit more complex, than is implied by the quality of
    questions in your survey.

    Frankly, I'm a bit saddened that some company out there may take your
    simplistic research and use it to try to motivate their programmers
    but will instead end up insulting their intelligences with management
    buzzword "solutions" to what might be some fairly entrenched and not
    easily solved problems.

    Some specific advice:

    1. Read joelonsoftware.com, at least the stuff having to do with
    programmers and management. While I disagree with a lot of his
    conclusions, he does a great job of identifying the important areas
    and outlining the real issues having to do with programmer
    productivity.

    2. If you want to do another survey, try asking open ended questions
    instead of yes/no or agree/neutral/disagree questions. I dunno,
    something like "what kinds of things would make you more
    productive?" You'll get all kinds of lame answers like "free soda"
    or "ping pong table in lounge" and a few very difficult answers like
    "so and so is unfairly taking credit for my hard work" or "stock options
    that are not $18 underwater" or "why bother when they're just going
    to offshore my position in 6 months."

    That's where you come in, to separate lame from serious.
    Best of luck...it's not going to be easy.
    Anonymous 7843, Sep 19, 2005
    #4
  5. Guest

    Thanks for your thoughtful reply. We actually agree with each other
    quite a bit.

    Of course you're right, the relationship between corporate culture and
    productivity isn't this simple - there are a ton of factors that
    contribute, include many that can't be easily quantified. But trying to
    measure them all in a survey produces results that can't be teased
    apart because they interact too much. So in this round, I'm only
    studying the following assertions:

    1. personal productivity depends strongly on perception of team
    productivity and weakly on perception of corporate productivity.

    2. personal productivity depends on three attitudes (respect,
    interdependence, and openness) in the culture, but the culture of the
    project is more important than the culture of the company, and the
    attitudes of the manager are somewhere in between.

    3. productivity results (positive and negative) are multiplied when the
    attitude between individuals and teams/managers/company are symmetric
    (that is positive in both directions or negative in both directions)

    You're right - this is quite a modest study and needs to (and will) be
    followed with others that broaden the set of factors.

    Let me explain why I'm doing all this. In a former lifetime (six months
    ago) I was a programmer myself, and pretty good at it. But I got
    interested in the human side of software production and have started
    doing Organizational Development within software organizations. But as
    I'm trying to convince managers to start creating more supportive,
    sustainable cultures I keep hearing, "Well, why should I spend money
    and effort on that? Can you show me any return on investment?" This
    study is a modest start on answering that question, by quantifying the
    effect of some cultural factors on productivity.

    So don't fret - I'm never going to go to any CTO and say, "All you need
    to do is address these factors and everything will be okay." But I do
    want to be able to say, "If you address at least these factors you can
    improve programmer productivity."

    I've read joelonsoftware.com, an the contents are thought-provoking,
    even if I've got some doubts about his conclusions. Other good
    references are _Peopleware_ by Demarco and Lister, and the venerable
    _Psychology of Computer Programming_ by Jerry Weinberg.

    All the best,
    Bruce Taylor
    , Sep 20, 2005
    #5
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