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Chapter 59. Gifted Programmers > Working Holidays

Working Holidays

I have to credit Rob Thomsett for one of the most creative ways to give a bonus to your best and brightest and get an unexpected bonus in return. He suggests you reward excellence with time, giving those who deliver quality software on time the time to pursue whatever project might interest them. What programmer wouldn't jump at the chance to spend several months learning a new language or experimenting with image compression techniques or creating a new free-text search method? The project could be anything, and they get paid for it! What really turns most of us techo types on is learning things, trying things out, playing around with new tools and techniques.

Thomsett says that, in his experience, most programmers would rather have more time than more money anyway. The bonus to the company of this sort of sponsored research is not just a happy developer with new skills and ideas but maybe a new piece of software or some useful new technology as well. This approach to reward may make even more sense for whole teams. When a project team demonstrates their ability to perform above and beyond established best practices, reward them by turning them loose on the research and development project of their choice.


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