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Developer Time Tracking using Slack


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1 Comment

SridharaDasu · September 18, 2020 at 3:27 am

I appreciate this article and I think it’s very respectful of developers. I really like that about the author.

I have been a programming for 15 years and I must say that we don’t always know what’s best for us. Flow is good but it’s not always good. I use the pomodoro technique, which like time tracking, requires me to break flow in order to reflect on my progress so far on any given task.

Some developers choose 50 minute pomodoros with 10 minute breaks because it gives them more time to get into flow. Personally, I still prefer 25 minute ones because it helps me see clearly how a complex coding problem can be broken down into simple subproblems. This is an important advantage. When I’m stuck, wondering why my application is not working, I am forced to keep asking myself “why” until I have a concrete “thing to do”. That “thing to do” could be as simple as logging a variable.

It guards against Parkinson’s law which says that work expands to fill the time you allocate for it. That time ticking down psychologically forces you to push for a nice finish to the task at hand. Even if you achieve a sub-milestone to what you planned for, it’s still nice to know that you did something in each half hour chunk. This is particularly useful because it helps you avoid going down debugging RABBIT HOLES. Instead, it helps you focus on the most important insight you want to gain in the next 30 minutes of programming.

So that’s why I like slack based work sessions and why I use them myself. I think there are reasons why things like slack based time tracking with work sessions really works, which segues perfectly between communicating with an engineering manager or client and tracking time. And it forces me to reflect and prevents me from going down rabbit holes.

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