I’m pretty sure you’ve already heard about Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, especially if you got any (even most basic) training in so-called “resource management” (yes, resource = people, how rude, ain’t it?). If you have no clue what I’m blabbering about, check out this link (for a start): https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maslow’s_hierarchy_of_needs.

Already back here? Perfect. MHoN doesn’t reinvent the wheel and it looks very obvious, but recently I’ve learned that it applies even in some not-so-obvious cases. Let me give you a brief example.

The majority of code-work I do is in my working hours - not a big surprise. Due to my role that requires me being very mobile, I use a company laptop for that and the one I’ve used recently was quite ancient (almost 3 yo). What I’ve observed after some time was that I was unintentionally (subliminally?) hurting my own productivity, because I was postponing the work that required code meddling until I got home (and then, I had to prioritize it behind my home duties, obviously). Why did I do that?

  1. Because it’s far more convenient to work in higher resolution (and my laptop’s one wasn’t even 1440x…).

  2. Because 3yo CPU with 2 GB of RAM makes Visual Studio 2012 crawl

  3. And everything …

  4. … takes …

  5. … so much …

  6. … freaking time …

  7. … with this PC.

It didn’t just make me postpone the codework. It was also annoying and cumbersome, because I had to keep up-to-date one PC more: my laptop (in case I need to do something urgent) and my home PC (for late evening codework). By keeping up-to-date I don’t mean antivirus definition updated and Windows Update run once in a while, I use plenty of developer tools that have to be updated almost on daily basis (and it may take some time).

Recently, I’ve managed to get my company laptop replaced with something far more reasonable (full HD res, SDD drive, i7 CPU) and it’s just AMAZING what kind of effect it made. It has just removed all the "mental" constraints I was building on my own. Now, I didn’t just reduce the burden of maintaining the PC, but I’ve regain my dev AGILITY and I’m (once again) able to shape something up really quickly ("just gimme 10 mins"). Until now I haven’t realized what kind of showstopper this old crappy hardware was.

And today, I’m having the same observation about getting a new computer chair - it’s a pure game changer. It didn’t just help me to get rid of annoying, recurring pain in the @%^ … back, but now I don’t think reluctantly about long coding extravaganza sessions anymore :)

Referring back to Maslow - don’t underestimate the most basic needs. They are that fundamental. And if you’re the one responsible for hardware purchase, make sure that you’re not too stingy here - few more bucks can boost people up easily.