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Get Out of the Way, We Are Coding: Part II

Another thing that is pretty common in development cycles is the notion of who can do more. Hours, that is, rather than work. That is a pretty important distinction.

In general, I appreciate work much more than hours, for the simple reason that someone doing 12 hours a day in the office usually does a lot less actual work. Sprints are possible, and we do that sometimes, usually if there is a major production issue or we are gearing up for a release.

Then again, we have just released RavenDB 2.5, and we haven’t need to do that. It was simpler and easier to push the date by a week than to do long hours just to hit an arbitrary point in time. I think that in the last six months, we had people stay in the office past 5 or 6 p.m. twice.

There are three reasons for that. The two obvious ones are:

  • People doing 12 - 18 hours of work each day tend do crappy stuff, so that is bad for the product.
  • People doing 12 - 18 hours of work each day also tend to have … issues. They burn out quite rapidly, too, leaving aside issues such as this one. People crash and burn.

I know that I've said it before, but it is important to note. Burning out will do nasty things to you. Leaving aside the proven physical and mental health issues that burning out causes, it boils down to this. I’ve burned out before, it sucks. Trying not to do that is a pretty important aspect of what I do on a daily basis. That is why I turned to building products, because being on the road 60 percent of the time isn’t sustainable, and if it is something that I feel, this is certain for other people who work for Hibernating Rhinos.

But, I said that there are three reasons. The third might be just as important as the others. Hibernating Rhinos was built to be a place people retire from. This is the ideal, and we are probably talking 40 years from now, considering all factors, but that is the idea. We aren’t a start up, chasing the pot of gold for that one-in-a-hundred chance to make it rich.

And that is why I had to kick people out of the office and tell them to continue working on the issue tomorrow.



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