Software Engineer Productivity Strategy

Whether you are a Software Developer, or a Manager over Software Engineers pursuing focused performance

 

Do you or your team experience any of these?

Characteristics that often contribute to loss of productivity for the individual software engineer and loss of profitability to the company

Distractions

Time Challenges

  • Getting off track while coding often to the point of writing unneeded code.
  • Doing the wrong thing at the wrong time.
  • Attempting to solve a problem not needing to be solved.
  • May pursue “interesting”, “educational”, or “fun” technology subject areas, or believe that an expansion of work scope is acceptable, even though these diversions are counter-productive.
  • Concentration is negatively affected by sounds, music, smells, temperature, voices, …
  • Work effort size/time poorly estimated.
  • Being on time (to work, to meetings) is a challenge.
  • Continuing to perfect a software component beyond its Return On Investment.
  • Rushes to deadlines resulting in a sloppy work product.

Miscommunication

Prioritization / Task Management

  • Not getting clarification when needed.
  • Overly sensitive when deep in thought and interrupted.
  • Misunderstanding what someone meant (non-cultural).
  • Talks down to others.
  • Does not listen well when spoken to.
  • Does not write/speak instructions clearly and in well organized manner.
  • Difficulty sticking to priorities set by management.
  • Some tasks do not get completed.
  • Not able to follow through on many or most self-created priorities.
  • Can’t disconnect from one activity in order to go on to another one when such a shift in priorities is needed.

Procrastination

Disorganization

  • Sometimes waits until the last minute to start a critical project, then pursues the goal with single mindedness until complete, often finishing just in time.
  • Often gets to meetings and other appointments late.
  • Even when the agreement is made to focus only on a specific activity, most of time spent elsewhere, on other tasks.
  • Can look like poor planning.
  • Seems to enjoy the adrenaline rush of last minute urgency.
  • May seem motivationally challenged.
  • Seems like, “Too much stuff and not enough places for it all”
  • Ofen desk, office space, and working areas are chronically cluttered
  • Frequently loses important items
  • You may hear, “Don’t touch my piles of paper, I know where everything in it is”. Unfortunately no one else can find anything in those piles

Underutilization of
“Flow” and “In-The-Zone”
(click here for definition)

Special challenges within
“Flow” and “In-The-Zone”
(click here for definition)

  • Overall, not as productive as the individual could be.
  • Lower sense of job satisfaction, and personal contribution at work.
  • Quality of work can be lower since work produced In-The-Zone is often from a heightened state of focus.
  • Generally, most developers seem to crave this state, and work better in it, but do not know what is needed to create that state of mind.

Underutilization of “Flow” and “In-The-Zone”

The “In-The-Zone” (ITZ) and “Flow” experiences often reported by software engineers and known to be a state of mind where focus is enhanced, creativity is generally increased, and inner intensity tends to block out other surrounding stimuli. Unfortunately, while in this same state of focused conscious activity, software engineers are generally more vulnerable to the emotional excitement of new technology, new concepts to explore, and other creative avenues. In this very focused and intense state of mind, they are more vulnerable to being distracted, and to work on tasks, activities, and priorities, outside of those agreed upon with management.The conditions that are needed to manage preparation for, getting into, maintaining, extending, and closing an experience of ITZ, can be learned. Because of the very high level of productivity increase reported by software engineers while ITZ, in our surveys over the past year, it seems that any increase in ITZ time will translate into increased productivity for the software engineer.

Current Software Development Tools and Techniques can’t adequately address these challenges

Do some of these symptoms show up around the developers you are responsible for? Or in yourself? Although causes of these challenges come from many different causes, the vulnerability to them exists within the developer themselves. Each developer is unique and may respond differently to the same distracting events, priorities, stresses, environment, triggers, and stimulations. Software philosophies, methodologies, and processes including Agile, Lean, and SCRUM can dramatically improve the efficiency of application of individual effort. Smarter software development tools offer ways for a developer to save time to get work done (once the learning curve is passed). But neither of these can significantly, positively, affect the symptoms detailed above.

The cost of not addressing these challenges

While the statistics we have gathered from our surveys given over the past year are subjective, and their responses are quite diverse, these programmers anonymously claimed to be programming, “In The Zone”, on an average of 1.25 times per day for a total of 2.95 hours each day. They also claim they are, on the average, more than twice as productive while programming in this very focused “In The Zone” experience as compared with their normal programing experience. The data we have suggests that a programmer may, for example, apply all of his ITZ time programming and well focused one day, but another day, lose two hours due to one of various distractions. This can look like losing up to 50% of the developer’s programming time for one out of 3 days. In this case the loss of the highly productive programming time would be 1/6 of the available time, or a 16.67% loss of productivity.

  • If you are a manager, it also may suggest you are wasting up to 16.67% of your burdened rate for your developers as long as these challenges are not resolved.
  • If you are are a contractor paid for work completed, then this 16.67% of your time is just lost.

Our discoveries within the distraction puzzle for developers lead us to new strategies, processes, and technologies

How did we create an improved solutions on these poorly understood problems in the developer community until now? Our new developments are synthesized from a number of different scientific disciplines, different psychological areas of study, several ongoing research areas, and many discoveries made in just the last few years. These include the application of neuroscience and the experience of a seasoned software developer, project manager, and coach.

We specialize in serving those responsible for the continued professional development of software engineers.

Three ways we serve you

Assessments

  •  FREE Basic Assessment  to uncover opportunities for significant increases in developer productivity.
  • Advanced Assessment Tool to evaluate developer’s effectiveness while working normally, and while working ‘In-The-Zone’.

Training and Webinars

  • The primary and most cost effective means of communicating knowledge and understanding to individuals and groups.
  • A number of presentations are offered to remedy challenges identified in the Assessment process.
  • Some training programs are paired with coaching to enhance integration.
  • Uses the latest research in Neuroscience intrinsic to these trainings.

Coaching and Consulting

  • Coaching programs are much more customizable than training or webinars.
  • Most coaching is individualized, one-on-one.
  • Coaching can be targeted on behavioral changes, and interpersonal interaction skills. Focus of coaching can center on distraction reduction and management, organizational skills, and more.
  • Consulting is customized to fit client’s individual needs.

To find out more, please contact: Steve Kohlenberger, (949) 288-3459