Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Time Management

I don't mean to be a prima-donna developer here but...A big part of my job is development (say about 60% - 70%).  The rest is made up of user support, development iteration planning, requirements tracking and prioritisation and change control. Now the development portion - given all these other responsibilities should be less, but that's another issue...or is it.

How to you prevent, phone calls from users, interruptions from system testers, arguing about whether that last enhancement should be closed or not, then teaching them again, why we ought to raise new bugs, rather than bounce the same enhancement around adding comments and issue until it is completely unrecognisable from its original form and contains so much info that none of it is useful to anyone...?

This post, is the result of one such interruption, regarding an enhancement that was returned to our development team, because of a bug I saw as completely unrelated. Now, I accepted the bug, no problems, it was a bug, plain and simple, it was found during testing of an enhancement that now works as requested. So I passed the enhancement item back to testing and raised a new bug, linking the two items and adding notes explaining (for the 6 millionth time) what I had done and why. (We use OnTime for this by the way - highly recommended.) So, after that 4 or 5 minute conversation which occurred in the middle of me attempting to write a cost allocation routine for our timesheets / On-costing / payroll management system, I have now had another argument I discussion that had no point, written this post and forgotten completely what I was up to.

Asides from wasting the last 15 minutes, we'll probably find out 6 months from now, just how costly this was, when the cost allocation routine is missing some integral piece of brilliance it would otherwise have had.

Going back to my original point - I'm starting to think it's impossible to wear quite so many hats. Maybe the mix of responsibilities in this job is actually the problem after all.  More to the point, I think it's how I manage the mix. But without my own office, and in a team too small to completely shirk phone call and other support related assistance, I fear the only light at the end of the tunnel, is in fact the train wreck that is, wasted development effort and bugs!