As discussed in Chapter 7, recruitment and retention in a successful software development organization are closely linked. The best practices presented in Chapter 7 for recruitment will undoubtedly carry over and help with retention. As discussed in the last chapter, if you hire software developers with backgrounds closely matched to your organization's job requirements and culture, you will be setting the stage for high retention and low turnover . This chapter presents additional best practices used by a variety of software development organizations to retain their best talent.
Successful software development organizations recognize the importance of retaining their best talent and continuously look for creative ways to do so. Long gone are the days when you could hire a COBOL programmer and expect them to stay on board until they retired . Before you are able to retain your key employees, however, you need to be able to identify who they are. Retaining key employees is important in any technical field. Not only do you have lost productivity while you look for a replacement candidate, there are the intangible costs. How long does it take for a new employee to come up to speed on a project? The bigger the project the longer it takes. Competitive compensation is certainly one part of the retention picture, although it is only a starting point. Software developers are valuable for their technical knowledge, which becomes quickly out-of-date. Developers thus tend to value positions that provide ample opportunities for training, both formal classroom training and on-the-job training. Besides such items as compensation and training, however, corporations in today's job market are going to extremes to retain their best employees . Of course the best way to improve retention is to improve recruitment and hiring, topics discussed in the previous chapter. If you hire the right individual for your organization, he or she is more likely to stay around and turn into a valuable long- term employee.