Time to Think?
By Jerry Coffey
I'm a bit harried today, so if this month's column seems disjointed and/or incoherent, it's because that's pretty much how I'm feeling. Please bear with me. We're in the middle of moving our offices, so there are a million little things to take care of, and lots of extra noise and disorder. I'm sure you've been through it as well, and you know it's an environment not particularly conducive to writing and/or software development, which pretty much covers what I do.
As is often the case, it makes me wonder about all of you, the readers of this magazine. What's your work environment like? Do you have an office with a door you can close? Or are you in a cube? Or do you share an open area? Are you happy with your set up? Does management appreciate that developers need to be able to hear themselves think?
All of these situations can be successful. One of the most productive environments I've ever worked in - my first - was a three-man R&D department in which we all worked together in a large room. We could interact easily when necessary, but kept things quiet for the most part with classical music from a public radio station playing softly in the background. (Talk about history repeating itself; most of our work was done in QuickBASIC - this was in the mid 80s- but we were converting to C. Sound familiar?)
But such an open format doesn't always work. I know some developers are expected to do their work in relatively exposed cubes with lots of surrounding chatter and ambient noise. I've been in that atmosphere as well. The only recourse is to bring out the headphones and keep the music (classical or otherwise) loud enough to keep the outside noise at bay. That can work as well, but it can certainly tax your powers of concentration.
And what if you just don't feel like listening to music? What if you just want quiet? Quiet can be hard to come by these days.
Thanks for reading.
Jerry Coffey is editor-in-chief of asp.netPRO and its companion e-newsletter, asp.netNOW. Reach him at mailto:[email protected].