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Re: [XP] Re: Like Garlic for Vampires

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  • Dan Bunea
    From my experience, I see that people working in pairs, tend to be disturbed by the others a lot less. However there should be a very good balance between the
    Message 1 of 25 , May 31, 2006
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      From my experience, I see that people working in pairs, tend to be
      disturbed by the others a lot less. However there should be a very good
      balance between the quite time and osmotic communication (Alistair
      Cockburn-Agile Software Development), as too many quite time tends to
      disrupt the important information flow, ending rapidly in duplication and
      other side effects, and too much communication, might end up with nothing
      ever done, because people can't focus too much being disturbed all the
      time.

      Dan Bunea
      http://danbunea.blogspot.com

      On Wed, 31 May 2006 15:05:35 +0400, <PaulOldfield1@...> wrote:

      > (responding to William)
      >
      >> Do others notice this effect? And do people have specific tricks to
      >> fend off productivity-sapping interruptions?
      > 3 techniques from non-XP shops; they may adapt.
      > 1/ (not tried but heard about) have a desk at least 40 feet from the
      > team work area. Anyone working there is trying not to be
      > interrupted.
      > 2/ (again not tried but heard about) put a "Do not disturb until"
      > notice on top of the console. 'Until' can't be more than 2 hours
      > away & can't be changed once posted, so folk know when to
      > come back. (doesn't seem to fit with 'osmotic communication'
      > principles?)
      > 3/ (what I do) go and hover by the desk of the person you want
      > to talk to. If they are readily receptive they will look up and
      > engage. If they are doing something they don't want interrupted
      > they will not immediately engage. Where this happens, if what
      > I want isn't urgent, I'll jot a note on a post-it and leave it on their
      > desk to pick up when they're ready. They can judge my assessment
      > of urgency by how long I'm prepared to wait before writing out the
      > post-it. You get to learn hand signals that can convey a wide
      > variety of responses ("Two minutes"; "Come back in 5"; "Can't
      > talk now"; "Join in, we'll get round to your topic but help us with
      > this" etc.)
      > HTH,
      > Paul Oldfield
      >
      >
      >
      > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      >
      >
      >
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    • Dan Bunea
      On Thu, 01 Jun 2006 13:09:06 +0400, Ron Jeffries ... a great answer, as always. I wonder why people tend to have too simple answers, for very complex problems:
      Message 2 of 25 , Jun 1, 2006
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        On Thu, 01 Jun 2006 13:09:06 +0400, Ron Jeffries
        <ronjeffries@...> wrote:

        > Yes ... another thing that happens in "Flow" is that one may be
        > concentrating well, but not being productive. We've all had that
        > sensation of finally giving up on something we've been at for hours,
        > and then realizing the problem before we get halfway home.
        >
        > Flow is good, but it's not everything.

        a great answer, as always. I wonder why people tend to have too simple
        answers, for very complex problems: "if I work/concentrate more, I will be
        more productive" is one of these. Possibly, people see a problem: "I
        didn't finish on time", find the cause: "because there was noise, and I
        couldn't focus", then apply negation and think that they have found the
        solution: "if I focus more I will be more productive". Unfortunately,
        answers about such a complex problem as productivity and efficiency, are
        complex themselves and cannot be simplified beyond a certain limit. After
        all Einstein said that things thoud be made as simple as possible, but not
        simpler.

        --

        Dan Bunea
        http://danbunea.blogspot.com
      • Ron Jeffries
        ... Yes ... another thing that happens in Flow is that one may be concentrating well, but not being productive. We ve all had that sensation of finally
        Message 3 of 25 , Jun 1, 2006
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          On Thursday, June 1, 2006, at 2:16:01 AM, Dan Bunea wrote:

          > From my experience, I see that people working in pairs, tend to be
          > disturbed by the others a lot less. However there should be a very good
          > balance between the quite time and osmotic communication (Alistair
          > Cockburn-Agile Software Development), as too many quite time tends to
          > disrupt the important information flow, ending rapidly in duplication and
          > other side effects, and too much communication, might end up with nothing
          > ever done, because people can't focus too much being disturbed all the
          > time.

          Yes ... another thing that happens in "Flow" is that one may be
          concentrating well, but not being productive. We've all had that
          sensation of finally giving up on something we've been at for hours,
          and then realizing the problem before we get halfway home.

          Flow is good, but it's not everything.

          Ron Jeffries
          www.XProgramming.com
          Anyone can make the simple complicated.
          Creativity is making the complicated simple. -- Charles Mingus
        • Chris Dollin
          ... At one point in my first job, I worked about 20 minutes cycle-ride from where we were living. Several problems had their solutions pop up on the last five
          Message 4 of 25 , Jun 1, 2006
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            On Thursday 01 June 2006 10:09, Ron Jeffries wrote:

            > Yes ... another thing that happens in "Flow" is that one may be
            > concentrating well, but not being productive. We've all had that
            > sensation of finally giving up on something we've been at for hours,
            > and then realizing the problem before we get halfway home.

            At one point in my first job, I worked about 20 minutes cycle-ride from
            where we were living. Several problems had their solutions pop up
            on the last five minutes of the ride home, when I went off decent road
            onto bumpy earth tracks. I assume that the ideas needed shaking up,
            or something.

            I am older (and heavier) and no longer cycle home. Fortunately I work
            on the second floor [1] and bouncing down the stairs on the way to
            the car (or train) can work, as can a car CD player played VERY LOUD.

            [1] English units.

            --
            Chris "that's my excuse" Dollin
            "Who are you? What do you want?" /Babylon 5/
          • Philip Doherty
            I read Peopleware and decided to do an analysis on the telephone interruptions a while ago. If we could cut our interruptions in half, leaving only the useful
            Message 5 of 25 , Jun 1, 2006
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              I read Peopleware and decided to do an analysis on the telephone interruptions a while ago. If we could cut our interruptions in half, leaving only the useful ones (believe me a lot of them were not useful) then it would save us £10,000 per employee per annum based on the time saved x daily rate.

              Of course there are assumptions in this but I think they are all pretty sensible.

              Just thought I'd throw some actual figures in.
            • Ron Jeffries
              ... Are you counting just time spent on the phone, times pay rate, in that, or also some time spent restarting the brain and such? £10,000 surprises me ...
              Message 6 of 25 , Jun 1, 2006
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                On Thursday, June 1, 2006, at 5:25:16 AM, Philip Doherty wrote:

                > I read Peopleware and decided to do an analysis on the telephone
                > interruptions a while ago. If we could cut our interruptions in
                > half, leaving only the useful ones (believe me a lot of them were
                > not useful) then it would save us £10,000 per employee per annum
                > based on the time saved x daily rate.

                > Of course there are assumptions in this but I think they are all
                > pretty sensible.

                > Just thought I'd throw some actual figures in.

                Are you counting just time spent on the phone, times pay rate, in
                that, or also some time spent restarting the brain and such? £10,000
                surprises me ... what's the annual cost of an employee? People are
                wasting that much of their time on bad calls? Wow.

                I'd be interested in how calls were determined to be non-useful,
                whether they were useful to the other party in some way, whether
                they were things that needed handling but could have been buffered,
                whether they were calls that someone else did need to handle, and so
                on. Not that I don't believe the data -- I do. Just interested.

                Ron Jeffries
                www.XProgramming.com
                The main reason that testing at the end of a development cycle finds
                problems is not that problems were put in near the end, it is that
                testing was put off until then.
              • Philip Doherty
                I didn t even count the time spent on the interruption just the time taken to get back into flow. So, It was the number of interruptions multiplied by the
                Message 7 of 25 , Jun 1, 2006
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                  I didn't even count the time spent on the interruption just the time taken to get back into flow.

                  So, It was the number of interruptions multiplied by the stated 15 mins to get back into flow which gives the time. I multiplied this by the charge out rate per day which is approx 3 times the salary per day.

                  A lot of calls were only re-directing to someone else, i.e. complete waste of our time and the callers time. It was surprising how many times these calls happened. Of course some times the calls were useful and necessary so after looking at the detail recorded by each person on their interruption log I decided that around half the calls were unavoidable. So I calculated the figure on trying to reduce the interruptions to half.

                  If you think you answer 4 calls a day during work you are immersed in then its 4 x 15 mins (Dimarco) that's an hour a day.

                  356 days a year - 104 (weekends) - 35 (holidays) = 222 working days

                  So one hour a day x 222 days = 222 hours

                  222 * hourly rate = Cost

                  Work out the percentage of calls you find to be not useful (in my case 50%) and that's how I came up with my figure of 10,000 per year. (we had more than 4 calls a day)

                  1) The assumptions I made were that the person was in flow at the time of interruption. 2) The saved time would be spent on chargeable work.

                  Phil



                  -----Original Message-----
                  From: extremeprogramming@yahoogroups.com [mailto:extremeprogramming@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of Ron Jeffries
                  Sent: 01 June 2006 10:47
                  To: extremeprogramming@yahoogroups.com
                  Subject: Re: [XP] Re: Like Garlic for Vampires

                  On Thursday, June 1, 2006, at 5:25:16 AM, Philip Doherty wrote:

                  > I read Peopleware and decided to do an analysis on the telephone
                  > interruptions a while ago. If we could cut our interruptions in
                  > half, leaving only the useful ones (believe me a lot of them were
                  > not useful) then it would save us £10,000 per employee per annum
                  > based on the time saved x daily rate.

                  > Of course there are assumptions in this but I think they are all
                  > pretty sensible.

                  > Just thought I'd throw some actual figures in.

                  Are you counting just time spent on the phone, times pay rate, in
                  that, or also some time spent restarting the brain and such? £10,000
                  surprises me ... what's the annual cost of an employee? People are
                  wasting that much of their time on bad calls? Wow.

                  I'd be interested in how calls were determined to be non-useful,
                  whether they were useful to the other party in some way, whether
                  they were things that needed handling but could have been buffered,
                  whether they were calls that someone else did need to handle, and so
                  on. Not that I don't believe the data -- I do. Just interested.

                  Ron Jeffries
                  www.XProgramming.com
                  The main reason that testing at the end of a development cycle finds
                  problems is not that problems were put in near the end, it is that
                  testing was put off until then.


                  To Post a message, send it to: extremeprogramming@...

                  To Unsubscribe, send a blank message to: extremeprogramming-unsubscribe@...

                  ad-free courtesy of objectmentor.com
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                • Ron Jeffries
                  Interesting ... evocative ... not far off, I d guess. Thanks! Ron Jeffries www.XProgramming.com Hold on to your dream. --ELO
                  Message 8 of 25 , Jun 1, 2006
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                    Interesting ... evocative ... not far off, I'd guess. Thanks!

                    Ron Jeffries
                    www.XProgramming.com
                    Hold on to your dream. --ELO

                    On Thursday, June 1, 2006, at 6:03:06 AM, Philip Doherty wrote:

                    > I didn't even count the time spent on the interruption just the
                    > time taken to get back into flow.

                    > So, It was the number of interruptions multiplied by the stated
                    > 15 mins to get back into flow which gives
                    > the time. I multiplied this by the charge out rate per day which
                    > is approx 3 times the salary per day.

                    > A lot of calls were only re-directing to someone else, i.e.
                    > complete waste of our time and the callers time.
                    > It was surprising how many times these calls happened. Of course
                    > some times the calls were useful and
                    > necessary so after looking at the detail recorded by each person
                    > on their interruption log I decided that
                    > around half the calls were unavoidable. So I calculated the
                    > figure on trying to reduce the interruptions to
                    > half.

                    > If you think you answer 4 calls a day during work you are
                    > immersed in then its 4 x 15 mins (Dimarco) that's
                    > an hour a day.

                    > 356 days a year - 104 (weekends) - 35 (holidays) = 222 working days

                    > So one hour a day x 222 days = 222 hours

                    > 222 * hourly rate = Cost

                    > Work out the percentage of calls you find to be not useful (in my
                    > case 50%) and that's how I came up with my
                    > figure of 10,000 per year. (we had more than 4 calls a day)

                    > 1) The assumptions I made were that the person was in flow at the
                    > time of interruption. 2) The saved time
                    > would be spent on chargeable work.
                  • Stefan Schmiedl
                    ... You know, this last one actually had a nice side effect in a client s office. Inviting the normal people to join and help or at least give their opinion
                    Message 9 of 25 , Jun 1, 2006
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                      PaulOldfield1@... (31.05. 07:05):

                      > > Do others notice this effect? And do people have specific tricks to
                      > > fend off productivity-sapping interruptions?

                      > "Join in, we'll get round to your topic but help us with
                      > this" etc.)

                      You know, this last one actually had a nice side effect in a client's
                      office. Inviting the "normal" people to join and help or at least give
                      their opinion before delivering yet another task on my desk made them
                      aware of how hard it can be to model the company's workflows into
                      software, how much details need to be taken into consideration.

                      Respect increased, interruptions decreased and occur nowadays mostly
                      in the hour around the lunch break.

                      s.
                    • Ron Jeffries
                      ... Yes. I don t want to go all Zen, but I m sure I m more productive when I m relaxed. I need to be working, but once I sit down to do the work, the more calm
                      Message 10 of 25 , Jun 1, 2006
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                        On Thursday, June 1, 2006, at 4:28:50 AM, Dan Bunea wrote:

                        >> Yes ... another thing that happens in "Flow" is that one may be
                        >> concentrating well, but not being productive. We've all had that
                        >> sensation of finally giving up on something we've been at for hours,
                        >> and then realizing the problem before we get halfway home.
                        >>
                        >> Flow is good, but it's not everything.

                        > a great answer, as always. I wonder why people tend to have too simple
                        > answers, for very complex problems: "if I work/concentrate more, I will be
                        > more productive" is one of these. Possibly, people see a problem: "I
                        > didn't finish on time", find the cause: "because there was noise, and I
                        > couldn't focus", then apply negation and think that they have found the
                        > solution: "if I focus more I will be more productive". Unfortunately,
                        > answers about such a complex problem as productivity and efficiency, are
                        > complex themselves and cannot be simplified beyond a certain limit. After
                        > all Einstein said that things thoud be made as simple as possible, but not
                        > simpler.

                        Yes. I don't want to go all Zen, but I'm sure I'm more productive
                        when I'm relaxed. I need to be working, but once I sit down to do
                        the work, the more calm and cool I am, the better it goes. I am
                        concentrating, focused ... mindful, perhaps ... but not
                        concentrating or working "hard".

                        The times when I don't like to be interrupted are times when my
                        computer is broken and I'm trying to figure out what to do about it,
                        and even that is probably more because I'm tense and angry than
                        because the concentration has any real value.

                        Ron Jeffries
                        www.XProgramming.com
                        This is how I develop software.
                        Take the parts that make sense to you.
                        Ignore the rest.
                      • Dan Bunea
                        I can see your point very well. Some of the best ideas I had, regarding how to solve a problem, happened in weekends, holidays, walking home from work, where I
                        Message 11 of 25 , Jun 1, 2006
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                          I can see your point very well. Some of the best ideas I had, regarding
                          how to solve a problem, happened in weekends, holidays, walking home from
                          work, where I didn't think about programming at all, and I felt completely
                          relaxed. Many times this ended up, throwing a week of written code and
                          replacing it with a 1 hour implementetion, which was better. It seems that
                          relaxation, can generate ideas, which generate motivation which seems to
                          be one of the most important factors when doing something.

                          I do believe that agile methodologies are succesful, by encouraging
                          motivation. One huge difference as a programmer working with traditional
                          processes and agile processes, was the way I felt in the morning coming to
                          work, and when work was finished going home. If , as someone said we spend
                          8 hours working, another 8 hours awake and 8 hours sleeping, working means
                          half of our life. We should live it happy.

                          Dan Bunea
                          http://danbunea.blogspot.com

                          PS: I hope I don't sound as if I come from a sect :)


                          On Thu, 01 Jun 2006 15:49:07 +0400, Ron Jeffries
                          <ronjeffries@...> wrote:

                          > Yes. I don't want to go all Zen, but I'm sure I'm more productive
                          > when I'm relaxed. I need to be working, but once I sit down to do
                          > the work, the more calm and cool I am, the better it goes. I am
                          > concentrating, focused ... mindful, perhaps ... but not
                          > concentrating or working "hard".
                          > The times when I don't like to be interrupted are times when my
                          > computer is broken and I'm trying to figure out what to do about it,
                          > and even that is probably more because I'm tense and angry than
                          > because the concentration has any real value.



                          --
                        • Paul Oldfield
                          (responding to Stefan) ... I also noted how often a solution became obvious when one needed to explain a problem clearly to someone new. Yet it can be
                          Message 12 of 25 , Jun 1, 2006
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                            (responding to Stefan)

                            >> "Join in, we'll get round to your topic but help us with
                            >> this" etc.)
                            >
                            > You know, this last one actually had a nice side effect
                            > in a client's office. Inviting the "normal" people to
                            > join and help or at least give their opinion before
                            > delivering yet another task on my desk made them aware
                            > of how hard it can be to model the company's workflows into
                            > software, how much details need to be taken into
                            > consideration.
                            >
                            > Respect increased, interruptions decreased and occur
                            > nowadays mostly in the hour around the lunch break.

                            I also noted how often a solution became obvious when one
                            needed to explain a problem clearly to someone new.
                            Yet it can be surprising how often the people can have
                            something useful to contribute, should they choose to.

                            Paul Oldfield
                          • Cory Foy
                            ... (Sorry for the late response!) An interesting thing I ve noticed lately is that when I don t have a pair, I m digging for my headphones so that I can focus
                            Message 13 of 25 , Jun 25, 2006
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                              Ron Jeffries wrote:
                              > Flow is an interesting state. As far as I know these kinds of things
                              > have not been addressed in studies:
                              >
                              > What happens when two people work together? Is it still flow, or
                              > is it something else?

                              (Sorry for the late response!)

                              An interesting thing I've noticed lately is that when I don't have a
                              pair, I'm digging for my headphones so that I can focus on the code. I'm
                              more likely to go into a heads-down mode. And we've noticed that on our
                              team our velocity /increases/ when only one of us is there.

                              So, I think that the Flow a pair is in is much different than the flow I
                              would be in working individually. Perhaps like Luge versus Kayaking -
                              you'll get down a lot faster, but you might miss out on lots of
                              interesting things along the way.

                              --
                              Cory Foy
                              http://www.cornetdesign.com
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