Crisis Mode

A general term referring to any activity done to address an unexpected problem revealed at a highly inconvenient time, although it should have been anticipated and handled earlier.

Psychologists who studied closely the software industry found out that working in a crisis mode usually brings the best out of people. A group of researches from Boston who analyzed 2334 hours of security-camera tapes from 21 software companies concluded that when working in crisis mode, the average developer seems to be more relaxed, as if he feels this is the natural state to be in. Managers’ behavior, which was also analyzed in that research, also seemed to be more normative and humanitarian under a crisis. In fact, the entire team seemed to work better as one unit. Some teams enjoyed their time together so much that they voluntarily decided to work for longer hours without getting paid for it, and even order take away on their expense.

Soon after this research was published, major companies decided that they should encourage their workers to work in a crisis mode as much as possible, for everybody’s benefit, following the idiom: a happy worker is a good worker. Companies across the world started to deliberately create crises in order to motivate their developers and create a better atmosphere in the workplace. Some claim that the infamous Y2K bug was deliberately engineered into numerous products for that exact same reason.

The crisis mode research also affected the Human Resources profession. By now, it is already well established that developers who spent more time working in crisis mode, staying long nights at the office and trying to extinguish burning fires they have created are great candidates for promotion, simply because they are happier and more motivated. Developers who never experienced a crisis merely because they tend to do a good job to start with are labeled as troublemakers who lower their team moral. Fortunately, this is not a common problem.


One Response to “Crisis Mode”

  1. Economie4U Says:


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