## RE: [XP] Re: Like Garlic for Vampires

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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
Message 1 of 25 , Jun 1, 2006
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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• Interesting ... evocative ... not far off, I d guess. Thanks! Ron Jeffries www.XProgramming.com Hold on to your dream. --ELO
Message 2 of 25 , Jun 1, 2006
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.
• ... 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 3 of 25 , Jun 1, 2006
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.
• ... 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 4 of 25 , Jun 1, 2006
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.
• 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 5 of 25 , Jun 1, 2006
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.

--
• (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 6 of 25 , Jun 1, 2006
(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
> 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
• ... (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 7 of 25 , Jun 25, 2006
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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