The Frictionless Development Environment Scorecard
Nov./Dec. 2013 (Vol. 30, No. 6) pp. 30-32
0740-7459/13/$31.00 © 2013 IEEE

Published by the IEEE Computer Society
The Frictionless Development Environment Scorecard
  Article Contents  
Download Citation
Download Content
PDFs Require Adobe Acrobat

THE ENVIRONMENT IN which we work as developers can make a tremendous difference on our productivity and well-being. I've often found myself trapped in an unproductive setup through a combination of inertia, sloth, and entropy. Sometimes, I put off investing in new, better tools—other times, I avoid the work required to automate a time-consuming process. Moreover, regardless of which phase I'm in, changes in my environment blunt the edge of my setup. I thus occasionally enter into a state where my productivity suffers death by a thousand cuts. I've also seen the same situation when working with colleagues: cases where to achieve a simple task, they waste considerable time and energy jumping through multiple hoops.
A stressful couple of years gradually pulled my development environment into an unproductive disarray. Over the past few months, I've recovered from this state thanks to multiple small- and medium-scale investments. The scorecard in this column is based on my personal experience and observations as well as suggestions from colleagues. Use it to evaluate and fix your own environment. Some fixes involve tweaks to your setup, while others might require you to install new tools, learn new skills, and negotiate with managers. They're all worthwhile investments.
DIOMIDIS SPINELLIS is a professor in the Department of Management Science and Technology at the Athens University of Economics and Business and the author of the books Code Reading and Code Quality: The Open Source Perspective (Addison-­Wesley, 2003, 2006). Contact him at