Engineering teams love autonomy. The freedom to work on their own terms without micromanagement, flexibility to manage their time, work, and toolstack, along with a sense of ownership has historically made developers happier, and productive.
Over 80% of developers seem to agree with the statement – “With greater autonomy came better innovation, and higher growth!”.
However, their desired autonomy, and trust within the system is threatened by the inevitable rise of bossware.
As more and more companies turn to remote work after the pandemic, organizations have started to virtually look over their developer’s shoulders, and deploy workplace surveillance software.
What might have started as a noble intention to track developer activities without hampering their flow state is now threatening organizational culture, and overall engineering productivity.
Read this insight to know more about the menace of bossware, and how to navigate it to build happier, and productive engineering teams.
What is Bossware?
Bossware uses the pseudonym of “productivity, and performance monitoring software” to track developer efforts, even recording every second of your work activity.
Historically, the workplace monitoring software was designed to avoid data leaks, and calibrating internal threats in sensitive industries like pharmaceuticals, and FinTech.
The initial intention to use them during pandemic was to ensure remote work visibility into engineering efforts, and flag inefficient workflows, and identify overworked or underutilized employees without having to constantly disturb developers, and ask for minute status updates.
However, we are now experiencing a more extreme, and aggressive usage of bossware, that has been nothing but antithetical to developer productivity, and engineering excellence.
Most bossware even analyze, and rank developers on the basis of their active time on Slack/Microsoft Teams, mouse movements, console commands, user notification, social media monitoring, browser history, and the motion of their keyboard. Sometimes, these bossware even flag developers eating or drinking while they code, or reply to a chat.