Last November I discussed an audit I did of a computer company in Connecticut. During the audit my boss and I kept noting discordant indications that were hard to understand. At one point I asked my boss, on his next trip to the bathroom, to detour a little and walk past the developers’ cubicles as I had done. Presently he did that. When we conferred at lunch he said, “I looked at those cubicles, so what?” (Hint: My boss was not a geek.)
I explained to him what he had seen: about a dozen developer offices, each with a neat and clean desk, a few carefully stacked piles of computer listings, no signs of disarray or rush. This staff was working on a major new release but there was no sign of urgency or frenzied work anywhere. It was an improbable and unlikely sight. Understanding why the developers had no incentive to work hard turned out to be a key factor in our analysis.