I work as an independent consultant, one of the reasons that I like doing so is that my productivity is not inhibited by poor equipment! I have worked as a consultant for major firms, as well as an employee for folks like Microsoft and constantly been dumb founded by the triumph of Accountants over employee productivity! i.e. Capital cost versus fixed cost. The profit center aspect of employees seem to disappear from the equations.
The typical developer to days earn between 60-100K. Adding in benefits we are looking at $100-200K often. Giving an employee a $2-3K budget at year to do hardware and software upgrades as they think would best serve their tasks (subject to reasonableness review – ideally by an external source) seems so simple and productive – that I can assume some folks never did a business management course…
Today, you can get a workstation with built in RAID on the motherboard, 12 Gigs DDR3 ram, quad true cores (with hyperthreading), four terabyte drive (for RAID 1+0 if needed) and a SSD drive for the OS for under 2K. I see many developers trying to work on dual core with 2 gigs of RAM.
It reminds me of Sherlock Holmes 2% solution! i.e. 2% of the loaded cost of an employee may result in a 10-40% improvement in productivity as well a major morale boast! Giving or keeping a developer on old machines is a nice way of saying “You are not important, you are just a clog…”. Giving them a sweet environment and trusting them to make reasonable decisions actually does wonders for keeping employee. What is the cost of loosing an employee? Much more than $2-3K.
So bosses, be rational over this and build team morale and reduce turnover risks!!