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Manager’s Schedule vs. the Developer’s Schedule…and Meetings

Author
by Troy Grosfield
Date
November 5th, 2012
Category
Random
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After much ranting about all the meetings going on throughout the work day, especially status meetings, Dan Ziggas, one of my colleagues, pointed me in the direction of a great article called the Maker’s Schedule, Manager’s Schedule.

It sheds a lot of light on why I guess I feel the way I do when I sit through to many repetitive meetings or meetings I  feel like I could get the highlights of with a simple blog post or 2  minute conversation when I know there’s development work to be done.

The article explains how those quick little 30 min – 1 hour meetings in the middle of a  day can have a huge impact on a developer’s day.  When you’re  developing, at least from my experiences, I need to have the time to be  able to focus for longer periods of time.  It can be very difficult to get in the zone when programming when you only have 30 minutes or an hour here or there to get back into your code. You have to  rethink about all the things you program currently does or what you intended it to do.  Every developer knows what I’m talking about here.   When you get in the zone with no distractions and can 100% focus on the development at hand for longer periods of time development runs MUCH more smoothly.

Some may say, “well that’s where a good design comes into play”, true, but the developer still has to think of every possible  scenario that the end user may encounter when calling the methods and classes that he/she creates and as most developers know, it’s nearly impossible to account for every possible scenario in your design.  I guess that’s why my best development times comes when everyone leaves  the office or from about 11pm – 2am..

If you’re a manager that needs to deliver a message I would  encourage the following thought process:

  • Can the message be delivered  in a way where the person receiving the message can get the message on  their own time?  If yes, write a blog or start a discussion or even send  an email so the developer can manage their time more efficiently without all the breaks in their schedule.

This was one thing that both my previous 2 managers did a great job of listening and working with their developers.  We changed the way we communicated within the team.  I wrote a similar blog post called “No More 1 on 1 meetings” that explained how we changed from 1 on 1 meetings to using internal task management tools.  It worked very well and my manager was able to set up tasks as soon as they were needed and we could give and receive feedback on any given task at hand almost  instantly.  If we were busy heads down working then we could just get to the task or update the task when we were ready instead of having a  defined time or break in the day to meet.  With my other manger, it was more of meet if/when I needed anything which gave me great time to be heads down and develop.  If I needed anything it was easy to get in contact with her or if she had a new problem for me to go solve it was a brief overview meeting to explain what problem they needed me solve.

Great article, I highly recommend reading if you either do  development or ever work with developers…

[1] http://www.paulgraham.com/makersschedule.html

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