Monday, December 3, 2007

Laptops for Developers

All developers should have laptops and all conference rooms should have projectors. Honestly, I'm surprised there are software companies out there that think otherwise, but I just found that out to be the case today.

  1. Given that work areas are so open, it is really obnoxious for a few people to gather around one person's monitors for anything. It is distracting to everybody else around them.
  2. Code reviews are much easier with a projector and a white-board. Switching between code modules while doing chalk-talk is inefficient using paper. Code review notes belong in the code, not on a piece of paper that will get lost.
  3. Your good developers will spend time outside of work doing "geek" stuff. You encourage that to be work related if you provide the environment.
  4. At some point, almost every developer will find that they are traveling, be it for a conference, an emergency customer issue, or to train a development group in Indiana. You've made them 100% inefficient by no providing a laptop.
  5. Needing to be 100% at the office to "work" is anachronistic, especially for development. Providing a mobile development environment means a developer can work productively for 3 hours at home before his dentist appointment instead of taking 1/2 day off of work. That means better productivity and happier employees, since they don't have to waste leave for life-maintenance.
The days of "the laptop is too slow" are gone. So are the days of "the laptop is too expensive." The only thing preventing laptops from being used in place of desktops is attitude, and that attitude costs real dollars.

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