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I am interested in a psychology-related issue.

Let's imagine that we have a consulting company (and let's call it BusinessSoftwareInc) which does small and medium software projects for its clients. Some projects can be so small that they can be accomplished by one or two developers. By design of the BusinessSoftwareInc company the clients do not have any direct contacts with the company's developers (they do that via company's project manager).

Let's also imagine that the BusinessSoftwareInc company hires a remote employee (a developer or a web-designer, i.e. a person who never needs to visit the office) to do those software projects.

There can be some times when a client demands an NDA for a software project and our company should adhere to that.

In that case the developer is given a task to develop a software project, but he/she will never see it live in production (simply because the client will use it internally and the NDA does not allow to put the software project into our company's online portfolio or create a demo).

The question is: Can that negatively affect the morale of a developer and if yes, how this undesirable effect can be reduced or avoided?

My point is that if a developer does not really see the result of his/her work in production, that can lead to some kind of 'moral burnout' on his side, because if you do not see the thing that you has put your time in that can be very disappointing.

P.S. The only thing that I could imagine is to tell the developer something like "The client was very pleased with your job", but I tend to think it is a weak trick.

  • Hi Martin, perhaps instead you could ask for some strategies that you as a PM can use to counter any morale issues? As it stands, I'm worried this is off topic. It's a great question as it is and would love to keep it. Can you add more "PM Perspective" to it? Also, what type of personalities are we dealing with with the people? Good luck! ;) – jmort253 May 29 '12 at 21:20
  • Hm, I am not sure if I can add anything more to this. But Trevor's answer was quite good! – skanatek May 30 '12 at 9:46
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I would tend to think that the dev would know going in what the situation was, and accepted that.

And if not, even then I think that there are other far more motivating factors - quality of work, the challenge, the demonstration of ability, getting paid, etc.

for Jmort's 'pm perspective', there are any number of domains where team members never see the finished product (const for ex), they just know they did their part right and went to the next site.

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I think there are an infinite number of examples of people who never see the completed result of their work. It would be a unique individual who would suffer morale issues secondary to this and would likely be due to other things.

There are three things that have been found to motive us: autonomy, mastery, and purpose. I cannot see how not seeing the "final" product adversely impacts any of these.

If your company is like most companies, there are probably 50 things you can change today that are known morale detractors and much more compelling...and you can probably list the 50 off the top of your head.

  • I tend to agree with David, it isn't rare to don't see the complete result (maybe the project is too big that the developer cannot even imagine how big it is). – Tiago Cardoso May 30 '12 at 17:41

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