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Manager's Schedule vs. Maker's Schedule 274

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the gtg-i-have-a-mtg dept.
theodp writes "Ever wonder why you and the boss don't see eye-to-eye on the importance of meetings? Paul Graham explains that there are Maker Schedules (coder) and Manager Schedules (PHB), and the two are very different. With each day neatly cut into one-hour intervals, the Manager Schedule is for bosses and is tailor-made for schmoozing. Unfortunately, it spells disaster for people who make things, like programmers and writers, who generally prefer to use time in units of half a day at least. You can't write or program well in units of an hour, says Graham, since that's barely enough time to get started. So if you fall into the Maker camp, adds Graham, you better hope your boss is smart enough to recognize that you need long chunks of time to work in. How's that working out in your world?" Ironically enough, I have a meeting to attend in three minutes.
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Manager's Schedule vs. Maker's Schedule

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  • Ironic? (Score:5, Informative)

    by Cap'nPedro (987782) on Monday July 27, 2009 @12:18PM (#28838867)

    That's not ironic, that's just coincidental!

    And that was pedantic.

    • Re:Ironic? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by AP31R0N (723649) on Monday July 27, 2009 @01:23PM (#28840031)

      Pedantic is French for "stop making me aware of my ignorance!". Grammar snob/nazi and prescriptivist, likewise.

      Don't apologize for correcting someone's error. If they are offended, that's their insecurity.

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by causality (777677)

        Pedantic is French for "stop making me aware of my ignorance!". Grammar snob/nazi and prescriptivist, likewise.

        Don't apologize for correcting someone's error. If they are offended, that's their insecurity.

        That reminds me of an amusing saying:

        "I'm sorry if the correct way of doing things offends you."
        -- Unattributed

  • Block it off (Score:3, Insightful)

    by r_jensen11 (598210) on Monday July 27, 2009 @12:23PM (#28838969)

    If you need heads-down time, block it off on your calendar. That's the easiest and first thing one should do if there is open space on their calendar and they are complaining about constantly being interrupted. Of course, this doesn't help when the person interrupting you is sitting on the other side of your cube's wall....

  • strange (Score:3, Funny)

    by madcat2c (1292296) on Monday July 27, 2009 @12:23PM (#28838971)
    Did they tell you to bring all of your desk items with you in a box?
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by causality (777677)

      Did they tell you to bring all of your desk items with you in a box?

      Nope, this isn't a troll post either. The mods failed. Again.

      If anything this was Funny.

      As for me, I have karma to burn. Do your worst!

  • by WmLGann (1143005) on Monday July 27, 2009 @12:24PM (#28838989) Homepage
    ...and it's the coder's best friend.
    • Actually, a real 4 hour meeting is the coder's best friend, if it means that he can work 8-4 without interruption. If you can convince your boss to put the meeting either at the beginning or the end of the day, you won.

  • I never have understood why managers love meetings. I mean, it kills productivity, usually ends up being boring or unrelated and in general a waste of time.
    • by umghhh (965931) on Monday July 27, 2009 @12:30PM (#28839075)
      Well if you had thought otherwise you would be have been a manager not a maker.
    • by D Ninja (825055) on Monday July 27, 2009 @12:32PM (#28839129)

      Two reasons: meetings make people feel important and they look like work (without having to do real work). I have found that most information gleaned in meetings can be e-mailed or distributed in some other manner.

      With that said, there is a lot that can be learned in the "important" meetings. People give away a lot of information (body language, facial expressions, etc) about certain situations that can be very valuable. That is where I find most of the value in meetings. Plus, it is a good way to build and keep team cohesiveness.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by rhsanborn (773855)
        I've found, not so much that all meetings are useless, just that they tend to be held by the wrong people, include the wrong people, and work through the wrong things. A small team of technical people, all directly related to some problem or task getting together to work out details, or figure something out is a "meeting". The problem comes in when you tie up those technical people on a mundane call or meeting run by non-technical people who just want those technical people there in case there is a question
      • I agree, and have been trying to get my company to use some reporting methods vs. doing everything in meetings. There are too many meetings that could have been replaced by a halfway decent status report.

        The problem is, a lot of people can't be bothered to read emails.

        I am in charge of IT at a small company. If I want to get a message out, I have to (1) send an email, (2) show up at a couple of big meetings and tell people in person, and (3) post an announcement on our intranet. For really important things,

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by ls671 (1122017) *

      This reminded me some Dilbert: ;-)

      http://www.dilbert.com/fast/2001-12-15/ [dilbert.com]

      http://www.dilbert.com/strips/comic/2008-11-23/ [dilbert.com]

    • by PPH (736903) on Monday July 27, 2009 @12:44PM (#28839359)

      It justifies their existence. I've worked in matrix organizations where there are four or five 'dimensions', each represented by their own chain of management. Each employs a team of drones whose only is to chase around between meetings and keep up to date on what's going on.

      Start eliminating meetings and pretty soon the executives won't have any place to employ their idiot son-in-laws.

    • by greatica (1586137) on Monday July 27, 2009 @12:47PM (#28839399)

      I'm both a coder and a manager. When I first started, the meetings drove me bonkers. After wasting enough time, I decided to ditch them altogether with my boss's approval so I could finish a big project.

      I learned my lesson quickly. After each meeting that I skipped, my boss would show up in my office (effectively destroying the block of time I was saving), and then he'd tell me about 5 more projects brought up in the meeting that were automatically approved. More work was actually created because I wasn't there to shoot down off-track and silly ideas in these meetings.

      I started showing up at meetings pronto to "keep the company on track with IT and software projects". It was worth it to waste 8 hours a week in meetings to avoid months upon months on projects initiated by people who had no clue how technology works.

      • by Opportunist (166417) on Monday July 27, 2009 @01:38PM (#28840383)

        You couldn't just put a dummy there with a voicebox repeating "No", "No way" and "We can't do that"?

        Or was the one in your company already employed as a SAP programmer?

      • by OakDragon (885217)

        I started showing up at meetings pronto to "keep the company on track with IT and software projects". It was worth it to waste 8 hours a week in meetings to avoid months upon months on projects initiated by people who had no clue how technology works.

        Maybe you could just send in a Teddy Ruxpin that loops a tape of you saying "NO..."?

      • @Greatica

        We need to schedule a 4hr meeting to discuss why your productivity is down. Please see me after you get done posting to slashdot.

        Your manager.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Volda (1113105)
      Many managers dont really do a dam thing other then make a schedule and watch the budget. Thats why they are so frequently in meetings so it looks as if they are being productive.

      As an example my boss has meetings nearly every day, some all day meetings. She rarely comes back and talks about what was mentioned in the meetings but none of it is ever useful or changes things for the better. This has gone on for almost 8 years now.

      Ive been to a few of those meetings as well and more then half of the me
      • Replace the word "Manager" with the word "Parasite", and this article becomes very enlightening.
      • by Maxo-Texas (864189) on Monday July 27, 2009 @01:39PM (#28840399)

        Managers are usually not oriented towards your work.
        They are usually acting as a worker bee for someone way above them.

        Also, when I moved from programmer into management, I was amazed at the amount of sausage making that we protect the developers from.
        Projects that are high priority- yet canceled without ever wasting your time.

        Plus a lot of coordination and orchestration.

        A good manager frees their developers to get work done and shields them from a lot of inane executive requests.

        • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

          by Anonymous Coward

          It's also why with some intelligence you can dump half of the projects you are given immediately (without notifying upwards) because they'll get cancelled down the line anyway. Why waste time on them. There are some criteria in the decision making of course - dump smaller projects first, and do cursory project design at a high level beforehand so that if you are about to get burned, you can hack something out by working late a couple of weeks.

          In the past 8 years, I have NEVER ONCE been burned by doing the a

    • by TheLink (130905)
      There are very good reasons to have meetings, and meetings can be useful when done well. Just google for stuff about "effective meetings".

      You could have meetings to introduce people to each other, meetings to get information, meetings to decide on stuff, meetings for brainstorming, make important announcements - for instance if Mr CEO is going to lay off lots of staff, I feel it's rather bad form to just send an email.

      The main problem with meetings is when the people involved don't know what the meeting is
    • by Bertie (87778)

      Simple - it's not about doing stuff, it's about looking like you're doing stuff.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Grishnakh (216268)

      It's mostly a big waste of time, used for people to make themselves look important by puffing themselves up in front of other people.

      The only time I've found meetings to be genuinely useful, in my 11 years of corporate existence, is when decisions need to be made with a team's input. Then, it's really important to get everyone in a room together and hash out all the details in real-time, so ideas can be suggested and then immediately commented on, etc. However, in most companies, meetings of this type are

  • by A. B3ttik (1344591) on Monday July 27, 2009 @12:30PM (#28839073)
    ...but then again, I'm a programmer.

    Where I'm at now, our system of measurements is basically just "I'll get it done today or tomorrow" to "It'll be done by the end of the week." There's simply so many potential obstacles and unaccountable variables that any more precision than that is pointless.

    Where I used to work, we worked on a "Point System" where 1 Point was equal to about 1 Programmer-Day, and 8 Points were equal to 8 Programmer Days. Ideally, an 8-Pointer should take one programmer 8 days to complete and two programmers 4 days to complete. Of course, that always fell through. A half-pointer (4 hours) might take me anywhere from 10 minutes to two and a half days.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by xs650 (741277)
      "Where I used to work, we worked on a "Point System" where 1 Point was equal to about 1 Programmer-Day, and 8 Points were equal to 8 Programmer Days."

      Unfortunately, in the PHB world that means that if a woman can have baby in 9 months, 9 women can have a baby in one month.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Opportunist (166417)

      That's what is insanely hard to get through a manager's skull: That it's hard to give exact estimates in IT. Even if you know your language to the point where you could reimplement it, when you're not essentially pissing in the wind and "thinking to know", no later than at debugging you're in "really soon now" land when asked for an estimate.

      Or, what I told my boss, "I would know how long it takes if I knew where I created the bug. If I knew where I created the bug, I would have avoided creating it in the f

  • by judolphin (1158895) on Monday July 27, 2009 @12:31PM (#28839091)

    As a computer programmer with an MBA (please don't burn me at the stake -- I'm a coder, not a manager, and have no desire to be a manager), I understand both sides of the story, and it isn't pretty. Meetings are crucial, but they need to follow these general rules:

    (a.) As much as possible, have a single "meeting day". This article explains why -- programming is not a "stop-and-pick-up-where-you-left-off" profession. So, in other words, as much as possible, ensure all "administrative overhead" tasks, such as meetings, are blocked together.

    (b.) Meetings must be limited to information that *everyone* *needs* to know.

    If you follow these rules, meetings are a Good Thing.

    Problem is, no one follows those rules, because following them is much more easily said than done.

    • by eples (239989) on Monday July 27, 2009 @12:48PM (#28839417)
      I'm going to lose my mod points to reply, but I wanted to add a third item to the list:



      (c.) Meeting needs to have an agenda, preferably distributed in advance


      This cuts down on frivolous meetings as well because there is usually a stated goal or a defined list of topics and people can come prepared.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by strimpster (1074645)
      I find that a lot of times managers like to feel important, so they force you to sit in a meeting where they tell you everything that they are working on and want to tell you way more than you need to know. There is nothing I hate more than being interrupted when I am developing some code to sit in a meeting, and then find out that I didn't need to be there at all and now my time was just completely wasted...
      • by russotto (537200)

        There is nothing I hate more than being interrupted when I am developing some code to sit in a meeting, and then find out that I didn't need to be there at all and now my time was just completely wasted...

        Especially fun when it has the added dimension of
        1) The meeting is to emphasize to developers the importance of delivering the code on time
        or
        2) The meeting is partially to rant at developers for falling behind the schedule.

    • I agree wholeheartedly, with one expansion to (b.):

      Meetings must be limited to information that *everyone in the meeting* needs to know

      I suppose that might be obvious to a programmer, but it's not always obvious to the PHB types ;) If the meeting is applicable to what you're doing, you should be there. If not, you shouldn't. I've seen lots of places get off-track in both directions.
      • by jellomizer (103300) on Monday July 27, 2009 @01:20PM (#28839989)

        Not as obvious as you may think. Managers sometimes keeps programmers in the meeting as a sanity check, What is worse wasting an hour and being board at a meeting. Or after an hour long meeting with management they come up with an idea that is impossible or difficult to program. And have to do it anyways as it has already been sold to the customer during that meeting.

      • by hedwards (940851)
        Or better still, meetings be limited to people that know nothing. Then you structure layoffs by people who spent the most time in meetings first.
    • by Americano (920576)
      I'd add:

      c) There should be a clear agenda ahead for the meeting ahead of time, set by the meeting organizer.

      Often, meetings turn into "let's get together and bullshit for an hour about the project." Nothing that needs to be discussed with the team, no decisions or actions required as a result of the meeting. Just an hour because "we should do a status update." When we're already doing status updates via email or some other shared medium.
      • by Da_Biz (267075)

        AMEN. The agenda also provides one last chance for the meeting organizer to ask "am I really inviting people that really need to be at this meeting?"

        How many times was a meeting chock-full of people who weren't either KEY contributors, decision-makers, etc.?

    • by mcgrew (92797)

      As a computer programmer with an MBA (please don't burn me at the stake)

      Don't worry, we already have the tar and feathers ready. ;)

    • This is one of the moments when I wish the modding scale wouldn't just go to 5.

      I would already be happy to know how long a meeting will REALLY take. My boss tends to make meetings along his schedule. A meeting "from 10:00 to 12:00" may well include some pizza (ok, he pays, so...) and an extension to around 14:00 if his schedule permits. Of course, if you have something scheduled for the early afternoon you may leave, but you may also rest assured that you'll find in the meeting protocol that you now have a

    • by rpillala (583965)

      I want to go further than your (b.) and say that everyone present at a meeting should be there because their contribution is needed. If a meeting is scheduled purely to distribute information, there are more time-efficient ways to do that.

      I teach high school, and my workplace runs kind of the opposite of this. Teachers' days are the ones broken up into hour-long segments, and administrators don't have that. Or, at least, they aren't tied to the bell schedule in the way that teachers are. Still, we have

    • by rho (6063)

      For some reason I'm reminded of The Wire's Stringer trying to introduce Robert's Rules of Order to da thug life.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by BitZtream (692029)

      Let me get this straight, you think because you have an MBA that you somehow understand something that you didn't before? Other than how big of a waste of time it is?

      I've never met anyone with an MBA who got anything from school other than a sheet of paper. Its a degree for people who need a degree to say they have one but not actually because they will learn anything from it.

  • Meeting? (Score:5, Funny)

    by Blakey Rat (99501) on Monday July 27, 2009 @12:36PM (#28839193)

    Ironically enough, I have a meeting to attend in 3 minutes.

    Please, oh please, tell me it's about firing your web developer!

    • Re:Meeting? (Score:4, Informative)

      by Culture20 (968837) on Monday July 27, 2009 @01:26PM (#28840111)
      Or about buying an iphone/ipod touch for testing.

      I hate starting down a good thread then

      having the text start doing something

      like
      this

      wh
      l
      h
      R

      Reply to this

      • Re:Meeting? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Blakey Rat (99501) on Monday July 27, 2009 @01:38PM (#28840377)

        Hah! You think that's bad? Try going to your user page on an iPhone wanting to find out which posts have been modded-- OH WAIT YOU CAN'T because the page flows ALL wrong and the moderation scores are obstructed by a pointless right-hand DIV you can't turn off.

        Oh and just as a tip: "hover" controls, like those used to add/remove tags to posts on the Slashdot homepage, DON'T WORK ON DEVICES WITH NO MOUSE. Like an iPhone, or Tablet PC. Please, everybody, stop using these.

  • by BlueBoxSW.com (745855) on Monday July 27, 2009 @12:36PM (#28839197) Homepage

    As a lawyer I'm friends with told me years ago. That's what they call it in his industry, at least.

    The time wasted switched from or back to a task you hadn't completed yet.

    I agree with the article. One meeting can dramatically decrease the productivity for the whole day.

    As a result I try to divide my time between all-day (or half day) tasks, and leave other days for things that take 1-2 hours a pop, including meetings.

    Using the GTD (Getting Things Done) methods help organize things as well, but that's been covered many times here.

    • by Blakey Rat (99501)

      We use "context switch" as the term around here. Most non-IT people seem to understand what it means, or at least pick it up quickly enough. "Thrashing" is good too, though.

      My biggest problem right now is a new manager who simply doesn't get the concept.

    • No, no, no. Thrashing [wikipedia.org] is what it's called in this industry. It's a dark day when lawyers are teaching geeks about operating systems and scheduling.
  • Stand-Up Meetings (Score:4, Interesting)

    by thepainguy (1436453) <thepainguy@gmail.com> on Monday July 27, 2009 @12:37PM (#28839213) Homepage
    When I was a manager running a project to go live on a large web site, I knew the developers were busy. In the final weeks I limited meetings to a single, end of the day stand-up meeting. That let people report on status and issues, but limited the negative impact on people's productivity.
  • by SuurMyy (1003853) on Monday July 27, 2009 @12:40PM (#28839285) Homepage
    In my experience having to go through a meeting that requires a lot of explaining and problem-solving can render me more or less useless for the rest of the day, programming-wise. In some way that I don't know how to explain the meetings eat up the very concentration that I need for programming. Perhaps it takes so much out of a programmer when you try to understand someone instead of something you can logically deduce.

    I dunno. It's still a mystery to me what one meeting can do to you sometimes.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by hattig (47930)

      Imagine that instead of a 2 hour meeting, it was a two hour teleconference with a horde of managers at the other end, where you were needed, but only for brief intervals, and politeness / relationship management required you to be there. Also imagine that you don't have desk phones because they interrupt the shared working area and you're a coder so you can use IM. So you have to do the teleconference in a room without a computer, just you and the telecon device.

      That's a DAY killer. If that was scheduled to

  • to work fewer days of longer hours, emphasis on evening hours when no one else is around in the office, for exactly the reasons mentioned in the article

    at the very least, thank you very much for the article slashdot/ graham, it has great propaganda value and was just forwarded to my boss 1 minute ago as a follow up petition

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by SuurMyy (1003853)
      I'm surprised if your boss will agree to let you work fewer days, even if it would benefit the company. Many managers are afraid of losing control. Many are oft afraid that if they give someone special privileges there will soon be others demanding them as well.

      Then there's the issue that who knows if you're really working in the evening if there's no-one to watch you do it? And if you would be trust-worthy, how about the others who will soon be demanding to be able to work evenings as well?

      So, it's v
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by shiftless (410350)

        Hah, corporate culture is so idiotic and inflexible. The problem with 99% of corporations in my opinion is that they cater to the lowest common denominator. I don't mean that in a rude or haughty way; let me explain.

        There are lot of different kinds of people in the world. I guess there are some people (a lot of people) who work fairly well with the whole 9-5 every day routine type job. It probably suits most people not because they particular enjoy it, but because most people wouldn't have enough self contr

  • by Dasher42 (514179) on Monday July 27, 2009 @12:41PM (#28839301)

    A programmer's work is vastly different from a manager's, or anyone's where a certain amount of time gets you a predictable level of output. Hear what I'm saying? You might have already designed something in an object-oriented class tree that with slight tweaks to a subclass, meets the spec. You might encounter a strange bug that takes hours to chase down. You don't know all of that when the boss sits you down in a meeting and gives you a spec and asks you for a deadline right there on the fly. That plus micromanagement is the worst. You get jostled too often to get into any kind of groove.

    The technical solution? Make your code as reusable and debugged as possible, because you'll never know when you need to write up a solution under adverse conditions.

    The real solution? Explain this to your boss in a proactive way.

    Anyone know a good book to recommend to the boss who's also the office schmoozehound?

    • A programmer's work is vastly different from a manager's, or anyone's where a certain amount of time gets you a predictable level of output. Hear what I'm saying?

      And yet we continue to see project after project scheduled in Gantt charts as if tasks like programming and engineering were no different than milling or smelting.

  • by RabidMonkey (30447) <canadaboy AT gmail DOT com> on Monday July 27, 2009 @12:42PM (#28839323) Homepage

    I find, as do others I work with, that the little one-off, "micro meetings" held around the office every day are very useful. Instead of getting the X people needed to make a decision into a scheduled room, grab them and stand in front of a white board (or whatever) in an ad-hoc fashion. Or, as we do, we all turn around in our chairs, discuss what needs doing, and get back to work in a matter of seconds/minutes, instead of scheduling a full meeting.

    I feel like when a meeting is scheduled, the time leading up to the meeting is seldom useful (oh, meeting in 15 minutes, better start slowing down/not start any more work), then the time after the meeting loses some function as there is the inevitable discussion of what we talked about, the creation of minutes, followup emails, etc. On a somewhat similar note, booking a meeting for a 1/2 hour instead of an hour forces people to work faster, and cuts down some of the wasted chit chat time.

    We just moved into a new office here, and it has a large number of meeting rooms, which is great. But, even better, there are quite a few "break out" areas, with chairs and a white board, but no door, and no reservations. So when you need to get a couple peoples ideas, you steal a breakout room, and whiteboard what you need. Use your mobile to take a picture of the whiteboard, erase, and move on to the next task. Plus, these meetings tend to be over quicker.

    Another trick I've learned .. if you get invited to a meeting, and you don't really feel like you need to be there, just decline it. If the meeting organizer really wants you there, they'll invite you agian, or call up/email and say "oh, we'd really like you there". but it saves you from sitting through a meeting where you just zone out and waste an hour.

    Overall, there is great value in meetings, but only if they are kept to the time required to resolve whatever you're there for, and only if they pertain to everyone there. It's pointless to invite 2 different groups to a meeting, so one has to listen to the other talk and be bored, then switch. Focus on goals, invite only the people who need to be there, and get back to work.

    • by eyrieowl (881195)

      This brings up an important point. I think part of the problem of meetings is the schedule aspect: meetings rarely end early, they usually expand to fill the allotted time. It's nice to have a time-limit, but it's unfortunate that establishing the time-limit (say, 30 min) tends to seen as a necessity. It makes sense, though, particularly in the context of TFA. If you are on a manager's schedule, it does you no good to have a meeting end 15 min early...you end up with 15 "wasted" min before your next me

    • Suggestion: Get a cheap webcam and use it to snapshot the whiteboard. Better resolution.
    • by weicco (645927) on Monday July 27, 2009 @04:36PM (#28843243)

      Another trick I've learned .. if you get invited to a meeting, and you don't really feel like you need to be there, just decline it.

      This worked wonderfully for me! I declined a meeting and got yelled by two different managers. It didn't matter that I didn't have any possibility to attend the meeting since my car broke up, busses didn't go that day and even the airport was closed for the month. It would have been 500 km walk to the meeting. The next time I'm calling for sick leave.

  • by Jason Levine (196982) on Monday July 27, 2009 @12:43PM (#28839335)

    Awhile back, we got a new head of our department. He decided that he needed to see how everyone used their day so he required everyone to fill out a form to track our time. I joked that my time tracker would look like this:

    8:00am - 8:15am - Checked/Answered E-mail
    8:15am - 8:30am - Entered time tracking for 8:00am - 8:15am
    8:30am - 8:45am - Entered time tracking for 8:15am - 8:30am
    8:45am - 9:00am - Entered time tracking for 8:30am - 8:45am
    9:00am - 9:15am - Entered time tracking for 8:45am - 9:00am
    etc.

    • by VAXcat (674775) on Monday July 27, 2009 @12:57PM (#28839601)
      When this happend at a place I worked at long ago, I wrote an application to generate plausible sounding time log entries - worked like a charm! Once a week I updated a list of phrases it needed to keep it sounding currnet, ran it, and was done. Bosses never figured it out.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      Its called logging your time. All consultants (or aspiring freelancers) should be able to do this. Its how you generate billable hours. And you log by task/crisis completed. Pretend you're Kirk, and you're filling in the "Captain's Log".

      • So fill it out with hype and hyperbole about how the project is getting complicated, how I'm going to need to violate some regulation or rule, which other employees were kidnapped/injured/incapacitated, and which green skinned woman I will next be attempting "diplomacy" on?

        Based on the historical documents, I'd say neither Kirk's nor Picard's Captian's Log would be a useful example, as neither contained real factual information...

        On the other hand, they did manage to record exactly what Starfleet wanted to

  • I schedule 'programming time' into outlook.
  • Great Essay (Score:2, Flamebait)

    by dcollins (135727)

    This is a beautiful, well-written essay. One of the best linked from Slashdot in my memory.

  • Rather than just zoning out and trying not to fall asleep, create yourself a list of problems that you can think about and take notes on your thoughts during the meeting. Not only does it look like you are diligently writing down pertinent meeting information but, you don't break your concentration flow.

    The one pre-requisite for this is that you have to have someone in the meeting who actually *does* take notes and is responsible for the minutes. If you are asked to write up the minutes after the meeting,

  • Sometimes, there's a slow day, and I'll have the time to tackle something more complex (the half-day or all-day tasks that were mentioned). Then there are all kinds of time slices I may have to fill, 30 minutes to lunch, the hour until a meeting, ten minutes until I have to catch the bus. I just keep a todo list with tasks ordered by estimated complexity. This includes e-mail responses, reading that article you always wanted to read, updating the internal Wiki, writing documentation, do Jira task housekeepi

  • I am sick of all these studies and new code development paradigm and case studies of software development etc that assume a large number of programmers with completely interchangeable skills. It might be of some relevance if you get 20 or 40 or 60 generic web developers supplied by a body shopping company like Accenture or Mastek or Cogniscent. In most other place with shipped software products working on bug fixes and features for the next release it is highly impractical.

    Your chart might show UI team c

  • Use technology to solve the Dilbert situations in your organization. Use speech-to-text software that is in every new copy of MS Word. Or something better. Have everyone at the meeting forward their personal speech-to-text template file (what you created when you read The Wizard of Oz to your PC) to the meeting's secretary. Then use these templates to create a transcript of the meeting into a text file. E-mail the text file to anyone at the company who couldn't be at the meeting because they were doing

  • But just because they have to happen doesn't mean that I can't generally schedule them to my advantage.

    I tend to group my meetings so that they're in a single block when I can. That way they don't run long ("Sorry. Have a 10:30. Gotta go.") and I can then keep the rest of the day free for actual work.

    For those days when it isn't possible that's when I do my documentation since there's no way I can get back into a project and do anything useful with an hour.

    Back in the days our calendar system would auto-

  • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

    by mozillalives (1168013)

    ... and Manager Schedules (PITA) ...

    fixed that for ya

  • by bsy-1 (169906)

    My favorite sign about meetings was actually posted in a shipyard meeting room, it said "There are no problems that cannot be made unsolvable if enough meetings are held to discuss them". Meetings at this shipyard, tended to be short, and were difficult to schedule. Made for really productive meetings.

  • Meetings should be used to solve problems. Information can be passed by email, or better yet through formal documentation. Status reports can be done by email and should only contain tasks completed on time, tasks not completed or will not be completed on time, and why if there are any of the second. Regular meetings should be held one on one to help employees meet individual goals and discuss any problems in a private way. Beyond that, "meetings" like kick-off events and celebrations for meeting goals can
  • This is probably true in other situations as well; but in academia one of the issues I run into is that I've got about 50 managers - one real manager plus 50 faculty. So this manager's schedule vs. maker's schedule gets multiplied by that many times, and compounded by the assumption (by each faculty) that their project is the only important one, and I'm just twiddling my thumbs waiting for them to give me more work.

    Oh, and coincidentally (NOT ironically!), a few seconds ago I just experienced the "I sent yo

  • by ducomputergeek (595742) on Monday July 27, 2009 @07:57PM (#28845529)

    ...in transitioning from systems & coding to PHB: I now have to keep a schedule with the rest of the world. I used to be able to come in at 11AM or Noon, leave at 3, come back at 6 and work till midnight if I wanted. If I wanted to see a movie at 2PM on a tuesday afternoon, I went to the movie. But our entire development team in that time consisted of me, myself, and I. Now I have 2 full-time developers and 2 more contract developers that I have to coordinate with. I still have some flexibly, but generally I need to be in the office by 9 or 10AM to answer emails and to go through the support tickets, assign tasks, etc.. The coders usually show up sometime between 11AM and 1PM and then work for a couple hours, head home, then do their real work usually between 10PM - 4AM. The time they are in the office is usually spent asking questions, or we're doing testing to see if things work in the production mock up.

    I don't care when or how the work gets done, just so long as assigned tasks get finished in a reasonable amount of time. And if they are having problems, let me know. Other than that, our developers have a free hand.

    I don't get to schoomze. That's the other co-founder and CEO's job. Granted he owns another business that is the primary source of his income and that takes a lot of his time. We generally meet 3 hours a week total, make sure we're on the same page, and he does the sales negotiations with clients and corporate paperwork (like payroll and taxes). Meanwhile I have the title of COO and over see the day to day operations of the company.

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