With all the talk and hype around BYOD(Bring Your Own Device) the focus is squarely on the hardware and primarily tablet and smart phones. But what about other devices, a mouse, keyboard, a laptop or indeed the software that you need or use to make yourself more productive? Is it the responsibility of your employer to provide it? Or do you like to use your own?
Personally I like my employer to provide the basics, a desk, chair, phone and laptop (if they have a locked down environment) with the essential productivity tools of the PM trade (Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Project) and Email. Beyond that all I ask is that they allow or facilitate the installation of other tools that I have a valid licence for or an open source equivalent.
This comes from a lesson learned way back when I was a junior code monkey (thats a programmer for those of you that aren’t from an IT background). I worked with a contractor who seemed to be able to do things in hours that would take the rest of us days or even weeks. I cornered him at a post release celebration one night and asked him how he did it. His tip… If you know of something out there that will make you more productive use it. it doesn’t matter if its a better mouse, keyboard or a piece of utility software. Even if you have to pay for it yourself it’s worth it in the long run. Think of them like a builder thinks of his tools. A good tradesman will use the best tools he can afford as that allows him to work quickly and efficiently, maximising the amount of work he can do and therefore money he can earn. Would you want a builder to use the cheapest tools he can find? Or would you prefer that he use precision tools that are robust and reliable? Having a retired builder for a father I knew he was right.
Since then I have built up a software library that I look to leverage to what ever extent my employer/ client will permit. Some have an aversion to the use of 3rd party tools in their development or to installing open source software within their environment. But thanks to the BYOD phenomena, these days more and more are opening up to the idea and realising that productivity is what’s matters most.
These days my productivity kit bag includes an iPad, mouse, phone, various portable storage devices and cloud based services such as Office 365 and GoTo Meeting. This kit is evolving and as I find new, better and (sometimes) cheaper ways to do things I will replace the older less productive tools. This may be a mindset difference between the contractor and the permanent employee but I truly believe that I have a responsibility to my employer to be as productive as possible.
So far this is a philosophy that has has served me well with every contract being extended past the initial engagement.