Monday, August 28, 2006

Code-itis Interrupted

Let's talk about the so-called 'zone', that angelic place of unbelievable productivity. First, a quiz.

Questions for coders:
How best to get into the zone?
What brings you out of the zone?
Can two people be in the same zone?
How can you work in a group with the least disruption of the zone?
Is it possible to communicate your progress / status without leaving the zone?
Have you ever experienced the zone? Never?

Questions for managers:
How to encourage your coders to get into their zone?
How to keep your coders in the zone?
How to keep your coders from leaving the zone?
How do you keep personality issues from disrupting the zone?
How do you get a status report from those in the zone without disrupting the zone?

Most important of all:
Do you believe in the zone?
Do you have to?

So, people should work in the same patterns that you do because that is what you understand? Is it possible that other people work in different patterns? What is more important, people following your pattern or getting the code out in time, to spec, and tested? Can you work with or manage something you don't understand? This is a topic for later discussion. Eventually I'll put together a 'Psychology of Programming' series but first I'll probably read the book of the same title.

I know it is a bad habit of mine but when I think about it, the book 'Ship It' seems to be addressing many of these points. They are operating under the assumption that the 'zone' is real and show ways to take advantage of it without the reader even needing to accept the premise, just like you can take advantage of radio waves without ever taking a physics class.

Any thoughts, questions, rants?
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  1. Anonymous3:53 PM

    Are you seriously questioning the existence of "the zone?" Apparently, you've been reading too much Extreme Programming!

  2. yes, the zone exists, but it cannot be explained. you must experience the zone for yourself. so, the question is blue or red? ;-)

    i see a book in the answers to the questions. a book along the lines of programming patterns.

    behavorial patterns for entering the zone?

    BTW, being in the zone can lead to burn out. so how to optimize the amount of time in the zone without bringing on burn out? optimize != maximize


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