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282

Because I don't want to feel obligated to provide technical support or offer refunds.


227

Many companies are certifiably insane around this. Seriously. If you asked 10,000 tech mangers, "Let's say you paid Danica Patrick $100,000,000. Do you think she could win the Indianapolis 500 by riding a bicycle?", I'm sure not one of them would say, "Yes." And yet a good percentage of these same managers seem to think that highly-paid software developers ...


210

Sharing Most of us make use of software that has been provided to use free of charge. As a result, it makes sense to share our own software free of charge as well. Basically, we are exchanging our software for the other free software but without the overhead of actually going through a transaction. There will be leaches who do not contribute, but since ...


175

Technical Debt ie "Just do it quickly, we'll refactor later". Firstly because I have yet to see someone engaging in this behaviour actually refactor later. Secondly because doing things the quick way, instead of the good way makes it harder to add future features or resolve future bugs so you end up losing time in the long run. Sadly, many still think it ...


170

I would suggest that, in reality, one cost is visible and quantifiable, while the other cost is neither. If failing to upgrade the hardware bleeds even as much as $1000 per developer per week from the budget, no one outside (read: above) the tech department ever sees that. Work still gets done, just at a slower rate. Even in the tech department, calculating ...


111

Releasing free apps and working on open source programs are great advertisements for selling a product, namely you. (Alternatively phrased: free apps are a loss leader for selling your time.) There's also the concept of the "gift economy", where the more you give away the wealthier you are. Why would I not donate back to my peers/society at large when I ...


100

I suggest that you watch this fantastic video to learn why money is often not the motivation for doing things: RSA Animate - Drive: The surprising truth about what motivates us I recommend that you watch the whole thing, but it also directly answers your question around the 6:40 mark.


95

I will put my 2 cents in here from the employer's side ... who is also a developer. I agree that low end machines are useless but top end machines are overkill. There are a number of reasons why you don't get the top end machines: Cashflow is a real issue, not just a theory. You might be getting paid $60K-$80K per year, but this month we have a total ...


82

My example would be the complete opposite of NimChimpsky's example, namely: Trying to develop in-house something that can be bought off-the-shelf. Normally this comes about due to a failure to actually check the market-place to see if something already exists that will solve the problem. This can be compounded by developers who like to "dive in" coding ...


70

No dedicated resources for project management I've experienced several times when a few programmers were contracted, and someone who already has a demanding day-job should have managed the project, but in fact was too busy with other tasks so the project never really gained momentum. The programmers made "prototypes" and stuff, but without a lead, much of ...


67

We can save money by having the programmers double as testers/technical writers If you are paying programmer salaries for tester/technical writer work, then you are wasting money and likely getting lower quality work than someone who has dedicated their career to that task. Also, when a programmer is up against a tight deadline testing and documentation are ...


63

Some people write programs for the fun of it—selling it turns it into work. Some people rank the number of people who use their programs above how much cash they get for it—selling it pushes down the first where they don't care much about the second.


60

Researching / Reading / Writing code not related to the product development is a waste of resource. Some programmers and even managers believe in that. Normally, they just do programming based on the knowledge in their heads, and do research and look for answers when they face problems. They don't continuously improve their knowledge proactively. My ...


56

The difference of productivity between the "top-end" machines and "almost top-end" machines is negligible. The difference in price is significant. Not to mention the IT support for different machines instead of having all the developers using the same HW and SW images (which you can't do if you're buying a top-end machine for every new hire, the top-end ...


55

In many cases offshoring costs more money. In my company it's very hard to get new employee slots, we are pushed heavily to outsource. Its also hard to get on-site contractors; there is ratio of 3:1 offshore to onshore they are supposed to maintain. Consequently, many teams just hire a dozen offshore and barely use them at all, just so they can get 4 onsite ...


53

I recommend not distributing it to project members at all. Appoint or elect a treasurer, open an account and deposit the money to earn simple interest. If you distribute donated funds between developers, at least one will become disenfranchised as the project grows. Instead, consider the other possibilities for the funds: Swag. Print up some T shirts to ...


49

I've seen too many examples to name a favourite, but I've noticed a few general trends in my main field, web-development: Vanity Websites. These are websites that serve no useful purpose to anyone outside the small organisation that commissions them and are built around an obsessive compulsion with logos, photos of themselves and self-indulgent waffle. The ...


48

Long feedback loops! It happens to everybody: you build something that you think is awesome, and it turns out you were wrong. That isn't the problem. The problem is how long you spend building before finding out that you should stop. At the high level, you see this problem with long release cycles. If you build for a year without feedback, you're gambling ...


45

The company selling it has no obligation to distribute source to anyone except people to whom they have given binaries. So no, they don't have to give you anything. Someone who has purchased GPL software does have the right to request source and subsequently redistribute that source to anyone under the terms of the GPL. If you can find a customer willing to ...


44

Not my own anecdote, but I did once hear of a shop which stopped providing free coffee to its developers, telling them instead that any time they wanted to get coffee, they were free to walk to the nearest coffee shop (something like a ten minute trip each way) and purchase some. Pretty much the definition of false economy.


43

Providing single-screen workstations because a second monitor is too expensive. Even if it only saves you an hour of work each year, an second screen is still a good investment. I know for sure that mine has saved me many, many hours of work. A Multi-monitor setup can make almost any task more efficient, not only development tasks. Three monitors is even ...


38

I release my software for free because I have spent time and energy on it but have neither the time or inclination to market it, someone might-as-well benefit. By personal philosophy is (and I do sell software too), "Competition makes you better". If you can't create a product that blows the competition (free or not) out of the water you're going to be in ...


37

Cheapest hardware given to a consultant when the consultant cost more than 150$/hour. Putting it in perspective a better hardware may at least make the job 30min more effective per day. That would give 30min * 20 days of work per month=600min/month =10hours/month > more that 1 day job = 10 hours*150$/hour = 1500$ Now wouldn't a consultant work more ...


35

Months of work save days of planning (Not investing enough time into planning)


31

A lot of free apps are created by someone who is fully employed and has come up with an idea for an application that they produce in their spare time. That person doesn't "need" the money to survive. A lot of times finding the mechanisms to market, sell and collect payment are just not worth the effort and sometimes individuals just enjoy offering ...


28

I don't see that anyone has mentioned this one yet. Building your own solution when you could buy it. Variations of this pattern: not even considering the buy-vs.-build tradeoff significant scope creep of the in-house solution limited scope, but also limited utility of the in-house solution


27

Limiting Long-term Raises and Bonuses I think its taught in Business 101 to not give employees raises. A secondary case is to limit salaries of star performers because they need to fit inside of some certain salary range. Eventually employees will realise their pay-scale is not in-line with their industry (or output). The people that have the resume and ...


27

Most prevalent I suspect is managers simply not providing developers with the tools they need to do their job efficiently. Basically, point 9 on the Joel Test.



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