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Too Tired to Work Smart Expand / Collapse
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Posted Thursday, February 16, 2012 9:07 AM


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There have been many studies over the years showing that productivity drops after too much overtime just as your ability to learn and retain new information drops after too many hours of study. We're humans not machines and your brain can only take so much. To GSquared's point earlier though, part of losing your ability to think clearly is also your inability to realize you are at that point once you've hit it. Our stubbornness often interferes with reason...

If you're on a team and working together for long hours, and you think it's time for a break then speak up and guage the rest of the team's weariness. You'll be surprised how many others are just as tired, if not more tired, than you are. I have been on late night calls for support issues and projects that are under a time crunch where everyone thinks they need to work 26 hours straight to finish the work. Even though everyone knows that they are too tired to really be productive and that serious mistakes are likely to occur, no one wants to give up and miss the deadline or not fix the issues before business ramps up for the day. This is when people start running delete statements without Where clauses or they kick off apps that go into endless loops requiring machines to be rebooted. Simple errors that could be avoided with a couple hours of sleep.

Post #1253244
Posted Thursday, February 16, 2012 9:36 AM
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My current manager was asking the other day why we had to work so much overtime on the first version of the product (it seems that all the overtime on the second and third version had already been forgotten). Since the manager was also a developer on that same product at the time, I was completely mystified. It seems that the manager is destined to repeat past mistakes. (Here is the formula, just in case you forgot as well: too many features in too little time with too few resources.)

Bottom line is that overtime, whether on a daily, weekly, montly or yearly (yes, yearly) basis is poison to any project or product. If you want to fail, then work the troops too hard.

We also have off shore resources that we use. It always makes me wonder why they think we here in North America are going to be sharp in such meetings when they start at 9 pm at night, especially since we've already put in a 9 or 10 hour day. Folks are winding down at 9 pm, not winding up.

I think the solution is to eliminate most management since they obviously don't get it. Don't get me wrong, I've had a good manager who understood these things. I guess 1 out of 10 ain't bad eh?

Post #1253277
Posted Thursday, February 16, 2012 10:05 AM


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j_e_o (2/16/2012)
My current manager was asking the other day why we had to work so much overtime on the first version of the product (it seems that all the overtime on the second and third version had already been forgotten). Since the manager was also a developer on that same product at the time, I was completely mystified. It seems that the manager is destined to repeat past mistakes. (Here is the formula, just in case you forgot as well: too many features in too little time with too few resources.)



If a lot of overtime is required for completing development on each version of your product then this sounds like poor project management. If your manager is acting as the development manager and project manager then he/she needs to review the project after each delivery and determine what went right and wrong and why the labor estimates were so far off. If the development went fairly well with few mistakes or rework and the developers just gave low labor estimates then the manager should pad those estimates to extend the project timeline. This would give the developers more time to actually do their work and avoid unnecessary OT. If development was flawed and there was a lot of rework and mistakes then that could be due to a myriad number of issues which your manager would need to address (training, poor requirements, scope creep, etc). If the OT is an ongoing occurrence then it sounds like your manager probably needs assistance in the project management side of things.
Post #1253299
Posted Thursday, February 16, 2012 11:44 AM


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TravisDBA (2/16/2012)
Well.... now you know why Mickeysoft is shipping American jobs overseas to China. They pay them dirt and work them until they fall asleep. Check out this link if you don't believe it. Good ole Mickeysoft!

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1266643/Microsofts-Chinese-workforce-tired-stay-awake.html


Yep. Just like Apple. Just like (fill in major corporation here). Just like (fill in another major corporation here). (Loop infinitely).


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Post #1253345
Posted Thursday, February 16, 2012 11:52 AM


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GSquared (2/16/2012)
TravisDBA (2/16/2012)
Well.... now you know why Mickeysoft is shipping American jobs overseas to China. They pay them dirt and work them until they fall asleep. Check out this link if you don't believe it. Good ole Mickeysoft!

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1266643/Microsofts-Chinese-workforce-tired-stay-awake.html


Yep. Just like Apple. Just like (fill in major corporation here). Just like (fill in another major corporation here). (Loop infinitely).


Yep and Obama has sworn to put a stop to it too. American jobs for Americans first. Go Obama!!!!!


"Technology is a weird thing. It brings you great gifts with one hand, and it stabs you in the back with the other. ..."
Post #1253350
Posted Thursday, February 16, 2012 12:15 PM
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I have to laugh to myself (to keep the insanity at bay) when I think about the first release of the project I mentioned earlier. To make matters worse, the "management" discovered a "silver bullet" that they were going to leverage to make us more productive: TDD/CI.

Don't get me wrong, I firmly believe in TDD/CI. However, if you force the team working on a major project to adopt such technology and techniques without any formal training and expect it to have an immediate effect tantamount to "saving the project from failure" then you have left the realm of rational behavior and have embarked on a journey to the island of insanity. We did only a mediocre job at TDD/CI on that project and it often became a bone of contention that actually reduced our capacity and velocity as people argued over "what is a unit", "what should be mocked", "why does code coverage not guarantee functional coverage", etc. I can't tell you how many "silver bullets" have been forced on me over my career without proper expectations and management.

Nowadays we use SCRUM to manage our agility and the management has succeeded in subverting that as best they can, rendering it almost ineffective in our case. The team is not empowered and is discouraged from innovation. What a mess...

Another major reason for all the overtime is that people often times have a feature in mind but cannot adequately describe it. What ensues is a constant struggle to get them to say what they mean and establish the communication necessary to validate that the feature has been defined well enough to be effective from a product perspective. SCRUM can help but only if you let it (i.e. proper story development and making the proper distinctions between epic and simple stories and acting accordingly).


Post #1253365
Posted Thursday, February 16, 2012 12:22 PM


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TravisDBA (2/16/2012)
GSquared (2/16/2012)
TravisDBA (2/16/2012)
Well.... now you know why Mickeysoft is shipping American jobs overseas to China. They pay them dirt and work them until they fall asleep. Check out this link if you don't believe it. Good ole Mickeysoft!

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1266643/Microsofts-Chinese-workforce-tired-stay-awake.html


Yep. Just like Apple. Just like (fill in major corporation here). Just like (fill in another major corporation here). (Loop infinitely).


Yep and Obama has sworn to put a stop to it too. American jobs for Americans first. Go Obama!!!!!


Obama is going to put a stop to corporate greed?! This I want to see!
Post #1253371
Posted Thursday, February 16, 2012 12:26 PM


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Avoiding the overseas sub-topic...

I'm there now, I'm on a project that hit an oil slick and is at warp 12. Most of it's due to network kablewies during long processes (24+ hours) in the dev network. Right or wrong, it's what I've got to fight with. So I find myself having to check things at 3 in the morning just to see if it needs a restart.

The problem is you can't avoid this. The whole 8 hours after two weeks is a nice theory, and is most likely correct. However, that doesn't convince the powers that be or peers in other departments that you're 'trying your hardest' if you don't come in looking like a wet cat after the washing machine sometimes.

Part of the problem is political, not just effectiveness.



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Post #1253376
Posted Thursday, February 16, 2012 12:30 PM


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KWymore (2/16/2012)
TravisDBA (2/16/2012)
GSquared (2/16/2012)
TravisDBA (2/16/2012)
Well.... now you know why Mickeysoft is shipping American jobs overseas to China. They pay them dirt and work them until they fall asleep. Check out this link if you don't believe it. Good ole Mickeysoft!

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1266643/Microsofts-Chinese-workforce-tired-stay-awake.html


Yep. Just like Apple. Just like (fill in major corporation here). Just like (fill in another major corporation here). (Loop infinitely).


Yep and Obama has sworn to put a stop to it too. American jobs for Americans first. Go Obama!!!!!


Obama is going to put a stop to corporate greed?! This I want to see!


Sure, he is going to redistribute all of the rich guys wealth, and their corporations profits, to all the little people haven't you heard?


"Technology is a weird thing. It brings you great gifts with one hand, and it stabs you in the back with the other. ..."
Post #1253379
Posted Thursday, February 16, 2012 12:33 PM


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TravisDBA (2/16/2012)
KWymore (2/16/2012)
TravisDBA (2/16/2012)
GSquared (2/16/2012)
TravisDBA (2/16/2012)
Well.... now you know why Mickeysoft is shipping American jobs overseas to China. They pay them dirt and work them until they fall asleep. Check out this link if you don't believe it. Good ole Mickeysoft!

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1266643/Microsofts-Chinese-workforce-tired-stay-awake.html


Yep. Just like Apple. Just like (fill in major corporation here). Just like (fill in another major corporation here). (Loop infinitely).


Yep and Obama has sworn to put a stop to it too. American jobs for Americans first. Go Obama!!!!!


Obama is going to put a stop to corporate greed?! This I want to see!


Sure, he is going to redistribute all of the rich guys wealth, and their corporations profits, to all the little people haven't you heard?


(I think my sarcasm meter just got burned out.)


- Gus "GSquared", RSVP, OODA, MAP, NMVP, FAQ, SAT, SQL, DNA, RNA, UOI, IOU, AM, PM, AD, BC, BCE, USA, UN, CF, ROFL, LOL, ETC
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