One of the key reasons Steve Ballmer cited for his resignation from Microsoft was that he was under too much pressure from senior leadership. The bottom-line seems to be that the board expected quick results to beat the competition, which resulted in a lot of stress for Ballmer; he couldn’t take this anymore and decided to step aside.
This kind of stress and expectation is not uncommon in the IT world. The same pressure trickles down from the top to the delivery teams, spreading the negative effects throughout the company.
Many organizations don’t realize that putting undue pressure on people forces them to make more mistakes rather than helping them perform better. Whether it is running a project or a company, the cost of stress in the workplace is more damaging than the benefits.
The European Agency for Safety and Health at Work clearly describes that stress is due to the demand-and-supply gap. In a software development environment, the demands could be to deliver the working software on time and within budget using available resources. Most of the time, however, the budget and resources are inadequate to meet the demand, resulting in stressful situations.
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