Re: [ljc] Midnight Programmers?

From: Murray C.
Sent on: Friday, June 1, 2012 5:32 PM
This is classic causation versus correlation.  

<soapbox>
From back in the early 1900's Ford did studies on working hours.  40 is the right amount to get the best quality output of their staff.  

Studies in the 1950's showed that working more than 40 hours can wok but not as you expect.  Work 60 hours and you get a temporary 25% increase in productivity and then productivity drops off after that.  It is not sustainable on the long term % of productivity drops below working 40 hours if you work even more hours.  Lets not talk about the lack of productivity due to mistakes and rework due to unclear thinking.  

Other studies have shown that a sleep deprived person would be worse behind the wheel of a car than someone who had 2 beers.  

People thrive on the idea of a hero working all the hours available and getting the buzz of succeeding on getting more things accomplished than thought possible.  It is short sighted and not for the long term.  Not to mention the big lows when things fail even after throwing even more hours of effort at them.  Good gamblers never talk about their losses do they.

You had better hope this person is test driving the heck out of all his/her code so there is a clear contract of purpose on everything written.
</soapbox>
cheers.
Murray



On 1 June[masked]:01, Barry Cranford <[address removed]> wrote:
From a non-developer perspective I have experienced similar things. Much of recruitment is in planning, administration and organisation. During the initial days when building the ClearView database I would often start this kind of work at 11pm and go into the early hours 1am/2am. I found if I tried to do these tasks in the middle of the day I was hopeless - had my mind on other things and took a lot longer, but late at night I was able to focus and was extremely effective. These days I'm usually up and working at 5am, again to get these kind of things done. For some reason I find productivity around administration and planning are just easier to do when I know the world is not working... or at least not responding to email... Again it could be down to distractions, I usually get 2-3 between 5 - 8, but generally about 20-25 in any given hour between 9-5, but there is something else about working in these times that seems to make these things easier to focus on it. 

It's always interesting to see how many things are transferable from what I hear about how software is done. Most of RecWorks is based around things I've learned through interacting with developers. Much of our work is done similarly to the Pomodoro technique (something I also use before 9), we have daily stand-ups, have Kanban boards with post-its (thanks John), work in pairs on specific things, try to employ the single responsibility principle in most of our processes (thanks Martijn) and have a generally agile approach of progressive improvement within every part of what we do. We are yet to open source our recruitment operations though ;-)

The LJC continues to be an education...

B



On 1 Jun 2012, at 09:52, Craig Silk wrote:

I agree and disagree in relatively equal measure.

When I was at University, I successfully (and unintentionally) moved my body clock into a completely different time zone. I would get out of bed at about 2pm and work until the early hours of the morning. I'm not sure why I did this. There's no reason why the night time was any more distraction free than the day time. I was in my room after all and there was very little noise from other people. I just gravitated towards the night.

Now that I'm in the real world and working on things that people actually care about, I spend most of my waking hours programming. I don't think I am less productive now because I work in the day rather than through the night.

This is where I agree with the blog. It's all about distractions. you're unlikely to be distracted whilst everyone else is asleep. This has nothing to do with the time of day though. If you're working in a Joel Spolsky / Fog Creek style office, I'm sure you'd be just as productive weather it be the day time or night time.

(http://www.officesnapshots.com/2009/01/08/fog-creek-software-office/)

The author claims that he works better when tired. I don't know if this is true. This is just what he thinks based on his experience. I imagine bouncing off the walls on caffeine (as he said he sometimes does) doesn't lead to much getting done but I doubt that being tired would allow you to get much done either.

There was an experiment done on the ever entertaining TV show “Brainiac” a few years ago where they took a man that had had no sleep and a man that was loaded with caffeine. They both had to do certain tasks that involved concentration and accuracy. As unscientific as the test was, the tired man won almost every task. This sounds like it supports the authors claims, but it doesn't. It just means being a little sleepy is better than being on your fourth red bull.

I used to think the night time was the only way to get any real technical work done, I now know (at least for me) that this is nonsense. It's all about not being distracted so you can actually concentrate on being creative and understanding the task at hand.


Craig


On Fri, Jun 1, 2012 at 8:52 AM, alexander sharma <[address removed]> wrote:
Hi

I wanted to do a survey to see how many programmers agree with this article or not.

http://swizec.com/blog/why-programmers-work-at-night/swizec/3198

Alexander Sharma




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