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Presentation: The Focusing Illusion of Developer Productivity

Track: Building & Scaling High-Performing Teams

Location: Ballroom BC

Duration: 2:55pm - 3:45pm

Day of week: Monday

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Motivated, productive, happy employees that have a sense of ownership in their work are crucial for organizational success. Traditional theories on creating motivation and incentive structures assume that performance is assessable. What do you do when both performance and ownership are ambiguous, as is often true with software engineering work? Software engineers are increasingly dependent on the work of cross-functional teams and the creation of business value by the exchange and combination of the collective social knowledge. Ownership is often shared which can make it difficult to achieve autonomy and be involved with the work from start to finish.

There have been scads of posts, tweets, and research done into an engineering team's productivity and psychological safety. The findings? It’s really hard. This talk dives into some of the historical precedents (and disasters) of incentive structures; looking not just at software but various industries that require incredibly complex and creative efforts between diverse teams. What kind of levers can we use to legitimately create ownership that allows teams and the businesses they support to collectively thrive?

Speaker: Courtney Hemphill

Partner & Tech Lead @CarbonFive

Find Courtney Hemphill at

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