Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Hawthorne Effect

Apparently my post on measuring things was really about the Hawthorne Effect. Which in brief is: The simple action of measuring peoples productivity will increase their productivity. If you read that article though, there are lots and lots of criticism, but I prefer the BS approach, it's a cool idea, let's run with it!

I've been enjoying trying the Pomodoro Technique and have noticed a change in my productivity. Honestly, I'm not following it strictly, I haven't even read much of the website, but I did download a little app and I'm measuring tasks. I'm guessing one of two things is a result of the change in productivity:

  1. The Hawthorne Effect has some merit and by measuring my tasks, and measuring my goofing off, I'm improving the amount of time I'm staying on task
  2. There's something about a change in process that makes you notice inefficiencies in the way you do things

For the time being I'm going to assume #1 is true :) and that the Hawthorne Effect probably isn't valid in a general sense. You can always game metrics / measurements etc. etc. But on a personal level, if the metric you're measuring is of value to you, if you don't game your own personal game, then I think those metrics do have value and the Hawthorne Effect does apply. Or at least that's the BS I'm slinging today.

This post took 30 minutes to write, I'm now taking a 5 minute break.


Ash said...

You know... either way -- placebo/observation artifact, etc... measuring definitely motivates me, I would write way more tests if I had integrated Cobertura/EMMA into Hudson.

I'm actually writing some now... FindBugs pickings are getting slim. I think Infinitest will help as well.

Zachary D. Shaw said...
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