Wednesday, January 8, 2014

First (Legit) Introspective: Social Time vs. Quiet Time

Time Vortex, or Arctic Vortex?
The first couple of days this week were surprisingly productive for me. I say surprisingly for two reasons: 1) the "Arctic Vortex" (which totally sounds like something out of Doctor Who) caused school cancellations, along with reduced attendance at work and cancelled meetings; and 2) I still ended up spending almost all day Tuesday in meetings. This means that I was improvising on Monday and having my day planned out for me on Tuesday, neither of which have very good track history for me.

A couple of things made these days productive. First, my team spent some time on Friday to populate our backlog, which was in serious need of grooming. Having work ready for me to pull made it so much easier to fill my time productively. Please note that I'm not saying I'm not productive without a well-groomed backlog of work to do, just not as productive. Second, I had a nice balance between time to work with people, socialize ideas, and have healthy debate, and time to sit quietly at my desk and knock out work that needed to be done.

I've spent the better part of the year encouraging people to work together more: increased collaboration, co-location, pair programming, and the like. So the thought that I needed time to myself to be productive never crossed my mind. It was a weird realization to have, to say the least. I'm glad I had this experience (and even more glad that I took the time to reflect on it) so that I can more easily relate with those who raise concerns about the lack of personal space and private time as their team transitions to Agile. I also need to brainstorm ideas for creating a quiet, private space in the midst of a chaotic, Agile team environment. Any suggestions?

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