In writing the last blog on motivation my mind was drawn repeatedly to thoughts about performance. After all, motivational techniques are primarily about boosting performance. But as I put “pen to paper” for this blog it turned out harder to write than I expected. Human performance is a squiggy topic but unquestionably important.
I start out with some classic performance curves that apply to factories, motors and other mechanical systems. Next I move to the human performance curve and then consider the large variability of the performance of programmers, the Elo rating system for rating chess players and musing on its relevance to programming. I close with sage advice to programmers from Captain Barbossa and Dirty Harry (who, as far I know, are not fictional programmers).