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Ben Nadel at Scotch On The Rock (SOTR) 2010 (London) with: Justin Carter
Ben Nadel at Scotch On The Rock (SOTR) 2010 (London) with: Justin Carter ( @justincarter )

Working Code Podcast - Episode 038: Holding Developers Accountable

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Recently on Facebook, Hal Helms-highly respected author, speaker, and computer programmer-shared some of his views on the use of "Sprints" to drive engineering work on a product team. In short, he despises the idea of asking engineers to commit to achieving a goal within an estimated time frame. He likens this to asking prisoners to build their own gallows. Everyone is terrible at estimating everything. So when companies start to use each "estimate" as a "contract" with which to punish engineers for under-delivering after over-promising, all it does is set the entire team up for a toxic cycle of disappointment.

Inspired by Hal's post, we wanted to talk about how we view-and experience-developer motivation; how we employ Sprints at our respective offices; and, what we think an organization should be doing to help drive a project to completion. There's the idealized approach that Hal puts forth:

Give developers what they need and protect them from upper management.

Amen! But, there's also the practicalities of running a business, building a road-map, organizing marketing campaigns, and keeping users interested and excited in your product. None of it is easy. But you can be sure that treating people with professional respect is certainly one of the necessary ingredients.

Or, listen to the full audio:

... featuring these beautiful, beautiful people:

With audio editing and engineering by ZCross Media.

For the full show notes and links, visit the episode page. And, be sure to follow the show! Our website is and we're @WorkingCodePod on Twitter and Instagram. Or, leave us a message at (512) 253-2633‬ (that's 512-253-CODE). New episodes drop weekly on Wednesday.

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Ben Nadel