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Survey on the Effects of Organizational Culture on Software Productivity

 
 
bruce_taylor@unisoncoaching.com
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      09-18-2005
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

 
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Martin Ambuhl
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      09-18-2005
http://www.velocityreviews.com/forums/(E-Mail Removed) 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.
 
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Richard Heathfield
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      09-18-2005
(E-Mail Removed) said:

> If you're willing to take the survey, please go to this URL:
>
> http://www.surveymonkey.com/s.asp?u=596961324075&c=4


I am willing to take the survey, but I am not prepared to enable cookies for
the purpose.

--
Richard Heathfield
"Usenet is a strange place" - dmr 29/7/2005
http://www.cpax.org.uk
email: rjh at above domain (but drop the www, obviously)
 
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Anonymous 7843
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      09-19-2005
In article <(E-Mail Removed) .com>,
<(E-Mail Removed)> 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.
 
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bruce_taylor@unisoncoaching.com
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      09-20-2005
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

 
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