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  • Frank Licea

Why Software Factory Culture is Bad for Developers

Updated: Jun 2

Have you ever felt nervous about how your software factory will react to you taking time off of work to deal with a personal issue?


You’re not alone. In India software factories treat developers like robots. Developers must check in when they arrive at the office and they are required to stay at their desks until they receive permission to take any break — just like the workers in factories during the 1800s. In South America many developers are forced to install software that takes screenshots of their computers periodically.



In contrast developers in the best firms in the US, and around the world, have flexible hours. The best engineering firms understand that writing software is a creative process — some people work best at 8:00 and others work best at 21:00. The best firms around the world encourage developers to take care of personal issues without punishment so that they can focus at work.


Why is there such a difference in software development culture?

Traditional software factories have financial structures that conflict with developers' best interest.


Factories have a cash flow risk because they work from project to project. Their future cash flows are modeled on their sales pipeline, so sales teams disproportionally set the client expectations, not the engineering team. And with fixed price contracts, there are strong incentives for developers to work extra for less. Missing project deadlines has a direct financial penalty for the business therefore poor code quality is acceptable and career growth is limited. Developers suffer because, in the traditional factory model, it's impossible to achieve a real collaborative relationship between development teams and clients.


The Austin Software Difference

We created Austin Software to solve these problems. Rather than operate as a Factory, or a Design Agency, we're a group of software developers ourselves, we believe the traditional factory model is bad for developers, and we’re building the kind of software organization we would have liked to work in.


Building software is risky and uncertain, to do it successfully, developer and partner relationships must be true partnerships where developers can do their best work and grow their skills. Austin Software’s business model is based on the following key rules:

  • Austin Software doesn’t accept fixed price contracts

  • We trust you automatically, you don’t have to earn our trust

  • We’re happy turn down opportunities with clients that aren’t a good fit for our culture

  • You work directly with our partners, no sales person between you and success


Added up, our policies create a relationship of respect between our team and our partners. If you are tired of software factories and you consider yourself one of the best developers of your peers, apply to join us, and help us change the factory culture in South America.


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