Marty Andrews

artful code

Monday, September 5, 2005

The development multiplier effect

Most software development projects have developers as the largest group of people within it, and they are engaged for the longest time on the project. They also tend to do the same things over and over again many times every day. Write a test, write some code, update from source control, run a build, check in. Rinse. Repeat. Good developers will do this up to tens of times per day.

All of these things mean that minute changes in productivity on a single task for your average developer on the project can have dramatic impacts across the project as a whole. On a project with 10 developers that do 10 builds a day each, improving the build speed from 5 minutes to 4 minutes saves over 13 hours every week.

For these reasons, I'm very wary of compromising on even the finest details around productivity for developers, and aggressively seek out improvements where possible. The biggest culprits that I see are in the IDE, source control system, and automated build. Be proactive about constantly improving these things and you'll be well on the way to a productive environment.