“Before you speak, listen. Before you write, think. Before you spend, earn. Before you invest, investigate. Before you criticize, wait. Before you pray, forgive. Before you quit, try. Before you retire, save. Before you die, give.”

Monday, March 22, 2010

The great "open space" move

So finally it happened. After 1 month of being threatened(that is planning) we were finally moved to the "open space" .. a room where people get to work with little to no natural light , constant noise and interruptions and impossible to change temperature,ventilation,smells .. the nightmare of every introvert (and I am definitely one)

Anyway I discovered this was not as bad I expected .. not when your boss is right there on the floor next to you. People would finally refrain from making noise when they could be seen very easy and that is a good thing (something I did not count on).
However I expect this to change very soon and I prepared some classical music to listen to while coding ( the classical headphones solutions). I can't stand white noise for now so I will have to find good music.
Of course my monitor could be seen not only by my boss but also by 4-5 other persons plus passers by on the hallway.
Of course my back was turned to a door (and a high traffic area) and I had no saying in how I would be positioned. Of course I was told that nothing I do should be private so unless I have something to hide I should be happy people can see everything I do always. Of course there is no privacy whatsoever.
So the classic solution to this would be to stay late (and do overtime) to compensate for the lack of concentration. Before I did that and in the 2 h of overtime(when finally I would get some peace and quiet) I would fix things that I couldn't in the 8h at work (and enjoy coding also).
Well not any more .. I decided to spend exactly 8h at work and then run away as fast as possible (or bike away I hope very soon). I do not need nor want to code in these unfriendly conditions.
The next time my manager will tell me that the performance is poor I will tell him to read Peopleware (not even gonna buy it for him),Code Complete and JoelOnSoftware ... enough is enough I would rather spend more time on the bike than in the bull pen.

Which brings me back to biking ...
Hopefully my trusted Dahon D7HG will be fixed this week and I will enjoy some full 28 km round trip commute to work. This should help concentration and also my general well being (not to mention weight loss). So hopefully this blog will also be on biking again ..
Just thinking about biking makes me happy so I am even thinking about buying a 26'' foldable bike(Dahon Matrix , Montaque Paratrooper) if I can't fix the old Dahon.
Unfortunately I can't afford a new bike for the moment not since I had the accident and ruined my wife's bike.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Steward delegation vs. Gopher delegation

In the beginning of the year I finished reading 3 very interesting books:
"Getting Things Done" - David Allen
"7 Habits of highly succesful people" - Stephen Covey
"How to win friends and influence people"- Dale Carnegie

The most influential for me was definitely "7 habits of highly succesful people" and I like the way the author describes the leading of a team.
There are principles like this described in Dale Carnegie's book and as a human doing knowledge work - computer programming for the record I do agree with the "stewardship" approach.
The problem is that the IT world especially in Romania is filled with the "Gopher" delegation that is the boss controls everything and is responsible for everything and the developers are just dumb peons doing the grunt work.
I do not think this is a productive approach for either the company or employee as the employee looses his confidence and ability to learn and the managers of the company get way too low into details to do anything productive.

Today was just another day when I could barely think. I am trying to setup a steward delegation system in my team that is everybody get's his section to develop and be responsible for and we meet at the end of the day to see how far we all advanced.

Unfortunately the way the before-me leader did it was by gopher delegation and people try to follow the same pattern. I have to admit with beginner developers it is easier to manage by Gopher delegation then by steward delegation but I feel that I am going nowhere with Gopher Delegation.
So today I did implement about 95% of what I wanted to implement ... but people in my team did not do so well and I was supposed to guide them and help them. The thing is I do not always know how to do it and I can't always analyse their problems as I should - the result is a mountain of interruptions coming at me and destroying the one thing I love when coding : " The Flow".
No flow means no productivity and people should understand this sooner or later when doing the coding. Did I mention that "Gopher delegation" style of management is always associated with open plan offices ?
Communication is valuable , but when talking about your holidays while people around are working I suggest you do it elsewhere and yes I know you will hate me for that , it's just that I don't care.