Why are some companies able to engage in creative software development, while others treat it like manufacturing?
Since the work we do to develop software is “knowledge work”, it benefits from the ideas and experiences individuals bring to each problem.
Many companies look at the envisioning phase of an idea that’s developed with software as the primary process that benefits from creativity.
Selecting the solution used to develop a feature or idea, equally benefits from creativity. So how can we maximize this?
Inspiration is the spark that someone gets when exposed to something created by someone else. A piece of music, a fine painting, a software technology etc.
Creativity is the work we do to form and shape that inspiration into something tangible in the real world.
Being creative takes energy, so many of the things we can do to maximize energy, will also maximize creativity.
People are less creative when constraints are placed on what they can change. Freedom allows for more creativity.
We can provide technologists with more freedom by encouraging them to make healthy lifestyle choices.
We can also provide technologists with more freedom by not allocating them to high levels of utilization.
More free time = more opportunities to explore different solutions. These different solutions can have explosive impacts on efficiency.
When teams are free to think outside the box and bring their full intuition to bear, problems once slated to take months can be solved in days or even hours.
When making decisions about how we plan work, or what the culture at our companies is like – are we optimizing for creative work?
Are we focusing on the illusion of predictability and control, using mathmatic equations to feed our ego so we can feel like we’re getting the most out of people?
Or are we creating an environment for software development that breeds creative ideas, treating people as sources of creativity and not just productivity units?
Management and companies historically do a poor job motivating individuals to make better lifestyle decisions to have more energy so they can cultivate higher levels of creativity.
You as an individual on a team must decide how important being innovative in your problem solving in your career is, and possibly make some lifestyle choices if you wish to reach your maximum potential.
The book I mentioned “Principles of Product Development Flow” can be found here:
You can watch my video on Software Estimation here.
You can watch my video on Lean Software Development here.
You can watch my video on a Minimum Viable Product here.
Also published on Medium.