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Re: [XP] Re: Like Garlic for Vampires

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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 1 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
    • 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 2 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 3 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 4 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.


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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 5 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 6 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 7 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 8 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 9 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 10 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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