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Software Development - Efficiency Enhancement Strategies you should avoid

Part I

This is the second post in my series about software development enhancement strategies you should avoid and today I want to go over the first four of them.

1. Working overtime to increase productivity – I decided to put this habit at the top of my list since almost all small and medium sized software development companies turn to it. It’s a very easy solution and it also seems like a perfectly viable one on paper. In reality things are not so simple. It has been proven that even if initially the productivity actually goes up, after only a couple of days it will sink rapidly.
What’s more important to keep in mind is that it will actually sink below normal levels. This is why software development companies should use this solution for a maximum of 6 or 7 days and then return to the normal working schedule.

2. Grinding out problems as a knowledge worker or developer – Tests have proved that when it comes to any kind of intellectual work (software development included), once you’ve reached an inspiration crisis, working more will only accomplish less. If you hit a brick wall, just take a break, get some good sleep and return when feeling fully energized.
It’s no coincidence that all the important stuff happens during the first half of the day, especially in the morning. We hit our creativity and energy peak right after we wake up and going through daily chores slowly decreases our capabilities.

3. Don’t believe “Super humans” and their stories – Often, designers, programmers and software development team leaders fell like they have superhuman powers. They usually think that they can get more things done by working overtime without getting tired thanks to their unique abilities.
This kind of behavior normally comes from single young men that feel like they have something to prove. The problem here is that they always judge their productivity according to short term results. If they see a sudden burst in production, they associate it with the extra hours. However, this causes problems down the road because of poor decision making and design flaws. As expected, the real cause of these issues is never fully grasped by the “super humans”.

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