Boost Factor

In the article How to Push Them Forward? I suggested boost factor as one of the mechanisms to force a task, in order to make sure it completes faster than usual. The §5 of our Policy explains how it works, briefly. Even though it’s a very simple procedure, it gets many architects and programmers confused. Let me explain how it is supposed to work.

Each task has a fixed micro-budget, which is intended to motivate a programmer to complete the task as soon as possible, and get the payment. We strongly believe that professional programmers are motivated by rewards. In different management models there could be different types of rewards: bonus points, vacation days, cookies, extra days of working from home, and so on.

We, in Zerocracy, believe in the most primitive motivational instrument: money. The better motivation we expect a programmer to have, the more we should pay. Of course, we understand that people are pretty complex creatures and there are many other things that motivate and de-motivate us. However, money is what makes the motivational formula simple and transparent.

Sometimes a project may have a task that is more complex than others and it’s difficult or impossible to use Puzzle Driven Development to decompose it into smaller ones. Such a task may be related to some reseach and experiments a programmer has to do in order to complete it. In this case, a task needs a “boost,” which means a larger budget.

How do we know that a task needs a boost? It’s easy: programmers will refuse it a number of times. A task will be assigned to someone and there will be a rejection, very soon. Then, Zerocrat will assign it to someone else and … again a rejection. Pretty soon, the architect will realize that the task requires a boost.

I would recommend to use 4x and 6x boost factors. Larger factors will not help as much, but will only spoil the programmer who will get such a large extra bonus and will de-motivate the rest of the team. Remember, everybody will see that a single task got a big bonus!

Thus, my recommendation: use it carefully and only when the task was rejected at least twice.