# Contents

Wouldn't it be great if there was a way to achieve better developer performance without running ourselves into the ground?

Could working at 85% effort paradoxically lead to better results than giving 100%?

Surprising new research suggests it can.

In a recent Harvard Business Review article, author Greg McKeown introduces the counterintuitive notion of the "85% rule" for optimizing developer productivity and performance.

His findings challenge the conventional wisdom that maximum effort always yields maximum output.

McKeown cites studies showing sprinters run slower races when coaches push them to 100% intensity too quickly.

Peak performance actually comes from controlled exertion held at around 85% effort.

This allows us to sustain focus and avoid burning out from the relentless strain.

By embracing the 85% rule, managers can unlock developer productivity in practical ways:

  • Encourage a "done for the day" cutoff to give minds needed rest. Ambiguous work hours lead to fatigue and diminishing returns.

  • Ask developers to work at 85% of their maximum capacity. This sweet spot sustains energy and prevents latent exhaustion.

  • Foster open communication about deadlines and challenges. Avoid high-pressure language that causes unnecessary stress.

  • Seek 85%-right decisions to move projects forward briskly. Perfectionism kills progress and momentum.

  • End meetings 10 minutes early. Back-to-back meetings exhaust the mind faster than spaced-out ones.

The 85% rule flips traditional expectations about productivity upside down. But counterintuitive insights often reveal powerful truths.

By easing off the pedal and embracing optimal effort over maximum exertion, managers can unlock sustained excellence from their developers.

The benefits are clear: improved productivity, reduced burnout, and higher-quality results. So, why wait?

  • productivity
  • efficiency