Re: Handling developers, "the zone" and other myths

Subject: Re: Handling developers, "the zone" and other myths
From: Chris Gooch <chris -dot- gooch -at- lightworkdesign -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 5 Jun 2002 13:03:37 +0100

I'm amazed that noone's mentioned Coleridge's
"man from Porlock" yet...

It's certainly true that programming does, at times,
require a level of concentration which most jobs
(technical writing included, I'd say) do not. Most
programmer's / ex-programmers will recognise that
one or two hours productivity per working day is all
that you can reasonably expect. So I can see that
if you were a development manager, having fought
tooth and nail with management to provide the
developers with a quiet work environment, not
open-plan cubicle land, then you don't want them
interrupted needlessly.

On the other hand, interruptions are
a) sometimes necessary
b) sometimes welcome (cos you aren't making any
progress anyhow)

The trick, I would have thought, would be to allow
people not to be interrupted just at the point where
they need to concentrate, or at least not too often.
If a developer is staring at the screen with a vacant
look in his eye and headphones on, trance CD at
his side, he's probably thinking, and possibly about
work. Consider giving him 20 minutes and then
grab him.

Obviously, in a healthy workplace there will be
give and take on both sides....


Christopher Gooch, Technical Author
LightWork Design, Sheffield, UK.
0114 - 266 8404
chris -dot- gooch -at- lightworkdesign -dot- com

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