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Thread: Incentives for programmers?

  1. #1
    jason b Guest

    Incentives for programmers?


    Does your company have an incentive plan for programmers?

    Does it work for you. Does it suck? Or have absolutely no relevance to
    you? Please drop me a note because I would like some ideas in this area.


    At a meeting earlier today it was announced that our company will soon be
    implementing incentive plans for programmers.

    I should be happy about this but I'm not. Here's why.

    Management's new system will (in theory) pay bonusses out to programmer's
    when he/she acheives more than 30 direct billable hours for our clients each
    week.

    This is good but there are times when programmers are required to work 70+
    hour weeks and only a fraction of those hours are considered directly billable
    to a client.

    One example is when sales have severly low balled a quote to a customer in
    order to get business. Another example is when we are working on developing
    new software that will be sold to many clients.

    I admire our companies desire to reward hard working programmers but I would
    like to help management come up with a better model.

    Does your company have a bonus program that works well? Something based
    on milestones maybe? Please let me know it works.

  2. #2
    Betty Buhr Guest

    Re: Incentives for programmers?

    I will always go for higher salary and forget the 'bonus' for billable
    hours. I got 'marketed' into accepting a job where one third of my
    income was supposed to come from commission on the projects I
    completed. Of course, there were two big problems since the
    commission was a percent of the amount collected from the client: 1.
    the marketing man always oversold the projects and 2. the favorite son
    developer was given the projects while they had commissionable hours
    on them and then the rest of us finished his work when the commission
    had been paid out. Bad deal for everyone, including the clients,
    except for the favorite son.

    Your analysis of your situation sounds very accurate to me.

    BettyB.


    On 18 Jan 2001 23:51:52 -0800, "jason b" <kiwis@pacificcoast.net>
    wrote:

    >
    >Does your company have an incentive plan for programmers?
    >
    >Does it work for you. Does it suck? Or have absolutely no relevance to
    >you? Please drop me a note because I would like some ideas in this area.
    >
    >

    [...]

  3. #3
    David K. Guest

    Re: Incentives for programmers?


    "jason b" <kiwis@pacificcoast.net> wrote:
    >
    >Does your company have an incentive plan for programmers?
    >
    >Does it work for you. Does it suck? Or have absolutely no relevance to
    >you? Please drop me a note because I would like some ideas in this area.
    >


    All of the companies that I have worked at have had some sort of bonus-type
    plan. In all cases, the bonuses were tied to the performance of the company
    overall. It was done either through stock options, whose value is tied to
    the company stock price, or through a cash payment, where the amount was
    based upon the employee's performance review and the overall performance
    of the company.

    >
    >At a meeting earlier today it was announced that our company will soon be
    >implementing incentive plans for programmers.
    >
    >I should be happy about this but I'm not. Here's why.
    >
    >Management's new system will (in theory) pay bonusses out to programmer's
    >when he/she acheives more than 30 direct billable hours for our clients

    each
    >week.
    >


    From what you describe, that sounds like a terrible system:

    1. It doesn't reward quality work. Programmers should strive to write good
    code. If anything, it rewards the "bad" programmer because, bug fixes and
    rewrites, the extends the project which means more billable hours overall.

    2. It rewards you for something which is generally outside your control.
    As you pointed out, how many hours you bill depends upon the type of project
    that you are working on. A good programmer, through no fault of their own,
    might be working on a project without a lot of billable hours. Why should
    they be punished? Also, a good programmer might be on extended "down-time"
    because the salepeople aren't getting contracts. Is that the programmer's
    fault?

    3. It de-emphasizes R&D and training which are very necessary parts of any
    software organization. If you aren't getting your bonus for doing it, why
    would you want to spend time on it?

    4. It de-emphasizes teamwork. There is no incentive for people to work together
    since bonuses are only tied to individual achivement. Under this system,
    it sounds like people will be competing against each other to get onto projects
    with a lot of billable works.

    5. Because there is emphasis on billing hours, there is incentive to "pad"
    hours just to build up one's time so that it reaches the threshold (i.e.
    the movie _The Firm_). This hurts the clients since they end up paying for
    work they didn't receive (not to mention that it's not ethical).



  4. #4
    Matthew Cromer Guest

    Re: Incentives for programmers?


    "jason b" <kiwis@pacificcoast.net> wrote:
    <snip>

    there are times when programmers are required to work 70+
    >hour weeks and only a fraction of those hours are considered directly billable
    >to a client.


    Dude, that's insane.

    Why on earth would you work for a company where you are expected to work
    70 hours some weeks? They giving you $200K per year?

    Matthew Cromer

  5. #5
    John Cantley Guest

    Re: Incentives for programmers?

    I agree here. You would have to pay me a **** of alot more than incentives to work that kind of hours. I limit myself to under 50
    and usually I keep it to 40. If they are working that many hours I would suspect the management and the quality of the programmers.

    John
    "Matthew Cromer" <matthew@sdaconsulting.com> wrote in message news:3a6a78cf@news.devx.com...
    >
    > "jason b" <kiwis@pacificcoast.net> wrote:
    > <snip>
    >
    > there are times when programmers are required to work 70+
    > >hour weeks and only a fraction of those hours are considered directly billable
    > >to a client.

    >
    > Dude, that's insane.
    >
    > Why on earth would you work for a company where you are expected to work
    > 70 hours some weeks? They giving you $200K per year?
    >
    > Matthew Cromer




  6. #6
    Peter Guest

    Re: Incentives for programmers?


    I have worked for about 5 companies and none have offered bonus schemes
    (salaries would rise at set periods based on performance)

    I think it would be pretty difficult to come up with an incentive scheme
    to satisfy all.

    But you would have to factor in research, training, general work performance,
    etc...

    BTW: I a gree with some of the others. You must obviously get paid bucket
    loads to work 70+ hours a week.
    This maybe ok for a contractor who has the choice and gets paid for every
    hour (Although I am a contractor and would definately rather not work that
    much - 40-50 / week is fine for me.)

    If a company wanted me to work thos sort of hours I'd have to be a bit worried...ie
    if they are underquoting on projects it doesn't say much for management or
    maybe the company is in financial difficulty - if so I'd say get the ****
    outa there!!!

    "jason b" <kiwis@pacificcoast.net> wrote:
    >
    >Does your company have an incentive plan for programmers?
    >
    >Does it work for you. Does it suck? Or have absolutely no relevance to
    >you? Please drop me a note because I would like some ideas in this area.
    >
    >
    >At a meeting earlier today it was announced that our company will soon be
    >implementing incentive plans for programmers.
    >
    >I should be happy about this but I'm not. Here's why.
    >
    >Management's new system will (in theory) pay bonusses out to programmer's
    >when he/she acheives more than 30 direct billable hours for our clients

    each
    >week.
    >
    >This is good but there are times when programmers are required to work 70+
    >hour weeks and only a fraction of those hours are considered directly billable
    >to a client.
    >
    >One example is when sales have severly low balled a quote to a customer

    in
    >order to get business. Another example is when we are working on developing
    >new software that will be sold to many clients.
    >
    >I admire our companies desire to reward hard working programmers but I would
    >like to help management come up with a better model.
    >
    >Does your company have a bonus program that works well? Something based
    >on milestones maybe? Please let me know it works.



  7. #7
    Peter Seymour Guest

    Re: Incentives for programmers?

    My current company strongly hints that pay increases are influenced by
    working over the normal hours. However this overtime is not paid for and
    must be taken as holiday. So it seems to encourage us to go all out up to
    pay reviews and then go on holiday. Other than that it's the usual
    healthcare, pension and share options.
    I've recently got a new job which I haven't started yet but 2 close
    friends of mine work there. I'll receive a fixed salary but the hours are
    40 a week plus whatever is necessary to finish your current project. This
    seems like a system that could be abused with the wrong management, but in
    this case team work is emphasized and employees are enthusiastic about the
    work they do. I think however in a very large company with several levels
    of management too much could be demanded of programmers with little or no
    benefits in return.
    Personally I'm in favour of fixed hours and fixed salary.

    Pete

    PS Thanks to all those who posted encouraging replies over the last couple
    of weeks. Things have worked out well for me.

  8. #8
    Verbal Kent Guest

    Re: Incentives for programmers?


    I hear you Jason. Our company has been touting an incentive program for every
    milestone you meet on time. Basically, it's an excuse to not pay you overtime,
    and get more work out of people. The ideal situation would be a decent salary
    and then overtime pay, that way it reduces your hours, but makes your extra
    spent at the office actually worth it.

    Ask yourself this: when you get the bonus, will the amount equal your salary
    broken down per hour compared to the amount of hours you worked? If not,
    run as fast as you can. They are milking you.



    "jason b" <kiwis@pacificcoast.net> wrote:
    >
    >Does your company have an incentive plan for programmers?
    >
    >Does it work for you. Does it suck? Or have absolutely no relevance to
    >you? Please drop me a note because I would like some ideas in this area.
    >
    >
    >At a meeting earlier today it was announced that our company will soon be
    >implementing incentive plans for programmers.
    >
    >I should be happy about this but I'm not. Here's why.
    >
    >Management's new system will (in theory) pay bonusses out to programmer's
    >when he/she acheives more than 30 direct billable hours for our clients

    each
    >week.
    >
    >This is good but there are times when programmers are required to work 70+
    >hour weeks and only a fraction of those hours are considered directly billable
    >to a client.
    >
    >One example is when sales have severly low balled a quote to a customer

    in
    >order to get business. Another example is when we are working on developing
    >new software that will be sold to many clients.
    >
    >I admire our companies desire to reward hard working programmers but I would
    >like to help management come up with a better model.
    >
    >Does your company have a bonus program that works well? Something based
    >on milestones maybe? Please let me know it works.



  9. #9
    Miguel Angel Gonzalez Guest

    Re: Incentives for programmers?


    "jason b" <kiwis@pacificcoast.net> wrote:
    >
    >Does your company have an incentive plan for programmers?
    >
    >Does it work for you. Does it suck? Or have absolutely no relevance to
    >you? Please drop me a note because I would like some ideas in this area.
    >


    Let me contribute this time with some ideas that a group of developers from
    Mexico City have.

    In our opinion an excelent way to give incentive to programmers could be
    based on several criteria like:

    a) how many certifications (or exams in case the certification takes more
    then one exam to be completed) did u get in a certain period of time? (lets
    say a year or half year).

    b) how low or high is your bug-rate according with the standards and methodologies
    used in the proyects where you have worked. I know this could be a little
    bit difficult to implement 'cause we're assuming that exists a QA department
    or staff that will be getting this 'grades' or 'notes' for all the developers.
    A task that almost no one like to do, kind of be a tough profesor grading
    exams with his/her red marker =).

    Hope this could help.


    Regards

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