Flutterby™! : Interruptions

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2013-01-21 19:10:54.978417+00 by Dan Lyke 6 comments

Programmer, Interrupted - the true cost of interrupting your programmer.

I have been having a hell of a time at the current job finding any sort of flow, and interruptions are a big part of that. It drives me crazy to be in a cube farm where neighboring people are doing phone support, but worse than that, to be in a position where when people don't understand what's happening with a system it can be escalated to me.

Every time I see a message pop up in the inbox or IRC, it could yank me out of what I'm doing and deep into state of another system to try to track down the "what"s and "why"s. Good to see yet another quantification of this.

Not that there's anything here about programming that we didn't know back in the '70s.

[ related topics: Weblogs Software Engineering Heinlein ]

comments in ascending chronological order (reverse):

#Comment Re: made: 2013-01-21 19:55:07.673785+00 by: ebradway

It's been interesting coming back to a software shop after a decade away. Several things are immediately obvious:

  1. Programmers don't get offices with doors. Instead, it's open space or, in my case, short cubes.
  2. Stand up desks are all the rage.
  3. Everyone wears headphones and some use ear buds + over-ear hearing protectors.

These three factors combine to make it very easy to see who's deep into code and who can be interrupted. We use email and IM even with people next to us. The setup makes working from home an easier transition.

#Comment Re: made: 2013-01-22 11:28:11.554674+00 by: DaveP

We recently fought to keep our offices here in the Minnesota branch office. Used a lot of arguments similar to what was in the article, but as far as I can tell, the thing that actually mattered was the handful of us who said we'd quit if we lost our doors.

But the entire rest of the company, all 10k employees, is slowly moving to "open floor plans." I can only hope that fad will have faded before our lease in MN runs out in five years.

#Comment Re: made: 2013-01-22 14:02:21.334805+00 by: meuon

I'm fighting this a lot. I'm often most productive locked in a hotel room with no distractions and without a decent internet connection.

#Comment Re: made: 2013-01-23 01:16:05.751027+00 by: Nancy

@Meuon - your comment is begging for a "that's what she said" tag... love from the princess non-geek

#Comment Re: made: 2013-01-23 14:25:51.250613+00 by: meuon

Laughing. I'll amend to add: I'm most productive (writing code) when locked in a hotel room ALONE without a decent internet connection.

#Comment Re: made: 2013-01-25 17:25:47.634734+00 by: meuon [edit history]

It's a cold rainy day, and I'm working at home. I just got off the eliptical for the 7 minutes it took for some maintenance routines to run, instead of surfing bad websites.. and for lunch I fixed some reasonably healthful burritos. I like working at home. Our customers don't know where I am, everything for them is the same. Just less non-worked related chatter and crapola, and more actual solid on-task time.

I see the need for some physical proximity time with other people I work with, but the timing and location could be variable as needed. A good coffee shop would be my first pick most days.