4. December 2007, 20:33, by Silvan Mühlemann

What motivates your programmer?

We’d like to deliver great products on tilllate.com. For great products you need motivated developers. So recently, Leo, Stefan, Maarten, Mario and me did a brainstorming about “what motivates programmers”. Here are the results:

1. Offer him the best type of work

Avoid giving finished specs to your developer. Let him do the specifications himself. Let him do the technology selection. Let him define the architecture. Give him challenging tasks to do on technologies he has never used before. Keep routine and maintenance work from him (nevertheless, someone has to do those tasks).

2. Offer him the best tools

Let him choose what hard- and software he wants. Mac, PC, C-64? Zend Studio, Eclipse or vi. Who cares as long as he get things done. Don’t save money on the hardware. Buy him a fast machine with big (and multiple) screens.

3. Offer him the best working conditions

Quiet, big and bright offices. Easy to get to with public transportation. Offer free drinks and food. Flexible working hours. If he wants to take a day off he should not have to ask for it a week in advance. Offer enough vacation. Avoid endless working hours.

4. Build a cool team

Create a good team spirit by organizing team events. Build a team of highly qualified specialists so everyone has a chance to learn from each other. Involve the team in the staff selection process

What do you get in return?

This is a long list of things to make your programmer happy. But of course the company has to be profitable. So I also ask for something in return: I want to get the stuff done. In good quality. And efficiently.

BTW: Nick Halstead (one of my favorite blogger) posted an inspiring article about this topic on his blog a while ago.

BTW2: Of course, this is highly generalized…

Filed under: Management


  1. And here’s another one on this: http://www.randsinrepose.com/archives/2007/11/11/the_nerd_handbook.html

    Comment by jou — 5. December 2007 @ 09:14

  2. These results are very true. I hope I can apply for a job like this after my apprenticeship

    Comment by mix — 5. December 2007 @ 09:15

  3. Sure, contact me at jobs@tilllate.com :-)

    Comment by Silvan Mühlemann — 5. December 2007 @ 10:51

  4. These are all good points, however always bear in mind scalability. Finding the right balance here is the art of making a good working environment. There are many approaches to achieve this…

    Comment by Christoph Burgdorfer — 13. January 2008 @ 18:58

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