People-Driven Software Development


have changed. Remember to stay focused on the target and the principle work schedule. Also remember that it is not the heavy workload every day that makes you a better performer, but a well thought-out cycle plan.

What Is Restitution?
Restitution can be defined as a process to re-establish equilibrium after physical and psychological strain. Activities like rest, sleep, time off, mental recreation, as well as the addition of food and fluid, are part of the restitution process. By incorporating effective restitution, we wish to:

  • Increase the outcome of the workout;
  • Be able to train harder in the next training cycle; and
  • Avoid muscle-soreness and burnout.

Restitution is automatically incorporated in projects where you work 40-hour weeks at a low stress level. In these projects, the evenings and weekends are enough to recover your strength for the next workday. It is important that the time off from work is free time and that the brain is allowed to think about something other than work. This means no work-related phone calls or email.
As we all know, you sometimes have to work nights and weekends to reach your deadlines, and these periods can be both physical and mentally hard. In these scenarios, evening and weekend restitution are not enough. Thus, you should add some days or even weeks (depending on the project) after the project to allow your project participants to regain their strength. We do not mean that the employee should wander around the halls, but that he should get the chance to do one or more of the following:

  • Reflect over the project
  • Evaluate the team's performance
  • Upgrade his skills

The point is to do something useful at a lower speed to regain mental strength and also increase skills before the next project starts.

Peak Condition
The best athletes have a unique ability to be in peak shape at the right time. To make this happen you have to be thorough with your cycle planning - and it's a given that you have to train.

If you follow the cycle plan you will go from a lot of training to high intensity training with a lot of rest in between. This is the opposite of what we do in software development projects. In these projects we start nice and easy and end up with a race with high intensity and no rest. It is very difficult to deliver good results under these circumstances.

The physical and mental condition should at least be the same at the end of the project as at the start. This is a good rule of thumb, but even great athletes are tired after the Olympics. The big difference is that the cycle plan makes the athlete regain balance fast.

To be in peak condition on a software development project, you definitely have to think about the items above. You have to do this to create extra energy to perform better at the end of the project. As a project leader, you do not want the participants to be exhausted in the test phase. You want better quality and control than that.

Three Practical Tasks
If you would like to implement this principle of “people-driven software development,” you can:

  • Clear three hours of every work day and use this time with the team (yes, that means three hours without meetings). The leader should be available for the participants and not the project. This is quite obvious in Scrum. Scrum states that: “The Scrum Master is the coach and the facilitator of the team.” He improves the productivity. He always has a training plan for the

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