All Developers Shall Have Good Equipment
This post is part of my series on Managing Developers – How not to suck
In 2011, the minimum primary development machine is a quad core system with 8GB of memory, a 64-bit OS, a fast boot drive, a 1Tb secondary drive, a gaming quality graphics adapter, and two 1900 x 1200 monitors. A system with an SSD boot drive is even better. Providing people a mouse and keyboard they like is groovy.
Many developers should have a good lap top like the Lenovo W500 – with an SSD.
None of this is expensive and your developers will get more work done and be happier if you make sure they have good equipment. There really is no excuse for your team to have poor equipment.
You can do more as well. Many developers will need a couple of test systems. These are systems they can re-image at will, configure for debugging and diagnostics, or install test versions of an OS or other software. These should be on a KVM system so their desk isn’t cluttered with monitors and keyboards.
Its good if one of these test system is "low spec", something like an old P4 system with 1GB of memory, an Intel 945G graphics adapter and an old 4,200 PRM mechanical disk drive. This lets your developers make sure your software will run on low performing systems. Intel Atom based systems are also good low spec test systems
Want bonus points? Let your developers use the code editor of their choice – even if this means buying it for them. Developers love their favorite editors and will be more productive when using them. Many good ones are free, the others are not expensive.
Get them extra tools they ask for. For example, RedGate’s Reflector is an essential tool for .NET development. Its only $35.
Sometimes developers will need special equipment. Get it for them. If they need this throughout a development cycle, get them their own gizmo – don’t make them share. Sharing works only if people need something rarely. If they needed it more than once or twice a week, or for a few days at a time, then sharing is just a pain – it is very inefficient. You want your developers to be efficient, right?
Don’t suck – make sure your team has the equipment and software tools they need to get their job done.