QZ.com: Why our startup has no bosses, no office, and a four-day work week

09/09/2014

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We couldn’t understand why people without technical knowledge had to tell programmers “what” to do and, furthermore, they had to supervise “how” programmers did it.


This article really resonated with me since I have frequently seen first hand how a lack of conscientious programming can cost an organization in the long run.Call me crazy but I have always taken the long view when coding since much of my work in recent years has involved unravelling the "shortcuts" and  sloppy work of previous programmer/developers. Why do so many programmers produce so much crappy code?

At big tech companies we frequently observed how programmers would do bad work in a short period of time and receive praise from their bosses. Over time, this leads to the standard: “let’s program with low quality but as fast as possible.”


So, blame it on the managers! Indeed after asserting that a developer needs at least a 4-hour stretch uninterrupted to be most effective, one of my favorite observations in the article neatly articulates the damage that even a "short meeting" can cause:

If for example, our boss assigns a meeting at 11am, then the morning is lost since I have to get ready for the meeting, attend the meeting, greet everybody, discuss the topics, then I have to go back to my desk and pick up exactly from where I had left off, see what I was doing and keep on programming. With all these activities, the whole morning is practically lost.


As the article points out not all developer/programmers are suited for a self-guided style of work, but I recently marked 3 years working almost entirely from home and have to agree that if you can pull it off, the benefits are tremendous, both in terms of quality of work and lifestyle. I believe my choice of platform (Lotus Notes) is also particularly well-suited to this style of work.

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