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Re: Re: Re: Article: 'Fire and Motion' (on productivity)

by kal (Hermit)
on Jan 08, 2002 at 17:00 UTC ( #137113=note: print w/replies, xml ) Need Help??

in reply to Re: Re: Article: 'Fire and Motion' (on productivity)
in thread Article: 'Fire and Motion' (on productivity)

I agree, clemburg, but I wasn't talking in the general sense. Yes, it's true that to be truly productive you need to basically be good at your job.

But, personal productivity (i.e., getting the most done that _you_ possibly can) pretty much begins and ends with motivation. Motivation is the engine that gets you places.

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Re (tilly) 4: Article: 'Fire and Motion' (on productivity)
by tilly (Archbishop) on Jan 08, 2002 at 21:34 UTC
    I have to register strong disagreement.

    Motivation is a necessary component, sure. But motivation is not in and of itself sufficient to be productive. In fact in excess it is typically a detriment. For instance many highly motivated programmers get told to work, begin coding away, and create horrible messes. Because they know no other way to work, they are doomed to be incredibly unproductive. And adding more motivation won't help one bit since the problem isn't lack of motivation.

    Indeed the advice to just open up the editor and keep typing is horrible advice. The fact is that productivity differences between programmers of 2 orders of magnitude have been reliably measured. And the people who are most productive when studied spend a far smaller fraction of their time than average involved in actually typing. Therefore the advice to just keep typing guarantees that you will go to the bottom of the overall productivity scale and stay there.

    What you need to do is try to move from being average to being good. You need to work on a constant basis, yes. But if you wish to become and remain a good programmer you need to devote a significant fraction of your time to developing and maintaining your skillset, another significant fraction to designing and analyzing your projects (some of which really has to be spent letting ideas sit in your brain), more time in reviewing what you wrote, looking for potential problems, figuring out how to test, so on and so forth.

    None of these is going to happen just because you are incredibly motivated. You need to know that it is important and conciously take time away from the current request list to get answers. And any manager who tries to impose this myopic view of how things should work will drive off any competent programmers they happen to have while guaranteeing low productivity.

    For more on this I recommend picking up Rapid Development by Steve McConnell. He has quite a bit to say about how attempts to speed development by motivating people result in shoddy software, missed development cycles and rapid burnout...

Re: Re: Re: Re: Article: 'Fire and Motion' (on productivity)
by clemburg (Curate) on Jan 08, 2002 at 18:18 UTC

    But, personal productivity (i.e., getting the most done that _you_ possibly can) pretty much begins and ends with motivation. Motivation is the engine that gets you places.

    This is very true if you look only at yourself. Still, one of the points of my post is that personal productivity is sometimes not as important as productivity of the team. It can even hamper the productivity of the team. In retrospective, I have often been most "productive" (at least from the viewpoint of my clients or employers) when I had a very low personal productivity (at least I perceived it this way).

    Hacking away at the editor is no substitute for thinking.

    Personal musing: I find it somehow funny to read that "opening the editor" for some people apparently is an act that needs some special effort. Maybe they use the wrong editor ... *my* editor is open all day ... how could I read mail or do anything else without it ;-) ? ... (see this recent discussion in about how often people fire up their favourite editor).

    Christian Lemburg
    Brainbench MVP for Perl

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