I hung around a bit during the discussion around "Manage It!" by Johanna Rothman. I am not a manager, I am a developer. My problem at work, is that there is no manager at all. It gets pretty ugly.
Manage It! has been a true life saver. Since nobody else is managing anything, any small changes I make can have an effect. In the last two weeks, things have been improving.
The first major change was to start timeboxing. I am working on about seven projects concurrently (can you spell "split focus"?) - and often reach points where I need feedback from the client before I can proceed. Before reading Manage It!, my days were one long string of interruptions ("pants on fire", anyone?).
I now have timeboxes of two to three days. I plan one or two timeboxes, and then replan when I reach the end of these. I am allowing one day a week for ad hoc / pants on fire interruptions. I can't delegate them, but I can at least collect them and do a lot less context switching the rest of the week.
As a part of being able to timebox, I had to develop a strategy for how to respond to the clients when they demand that something gets done right away. If it is critical, I'll do it. If they have a maintenance plan that promises work done within 24 hours, I'll do it. Otherwise, I let them know that it will be done within 5 business days, and schedule it for my pants-on-fire day.
Another change which is starting to become noticable, is in the way we use Subversion. Previously - not very well. Manage It! has helped me identify some of the key things we've been doing wrong, and we're slowly moving to a much cleaner use of it.
Lots of tiny things have made a huge impact. I'm rereading the book, and I also plowed through "Practices of an Agile Developer" and "The Pragmatic Programmer".
Johanna has inspired me to self-manage, and to take hold of the project portfolio (since nobody else is), as well as find better ways of determining what the client really needs and wants.
We're not "there" yet, wherever that is, but the difference in productivity has been astounding.
The next huge step up is going to be learning Test Driven Development, I think.
Originally posted by Katrina Owen: We're not "there" yet, wherever that is
You know, "the way is the goal".
The soul is dyed the color of its thoughts. Think only on those things that are in line with your principles and can bear the light of day. The content of your character is your choice. Day by day, what you do is who you become. Your integrity is your destiny - it is the light that guides your way. - Heraclitus
Joined: Nov 03, 2006
Originally posted by Ilja Preuss: You know, "the way is the goal".
I'm sure I heard something like that in a Kung-Fu movie recently