At the Scrum User Group South Africa meeting last night Marius de Beer did a really good talk about Software Development Practices. It’s been a long while since I saw anyone attempt to draw so much from such widely spread corners of wisdom. In one slide Marius mentioned the practice of Sustainable Pace. Many take the view that this is about cutting back on working overtime and that it supports the principles of energised work, and work-life balance. Marius did make the same point, and it is correct.
But there is another angle to Sustainable Pace. As a developer, you need to build a rhythm, or flow. It’s a cadence that you establish as you are writing code. It’s a cadence that TDD helps you establish itself. This cadence is also sustainable pace. And one thing that kills this cadence and your pace in a flash is a mid-stream meeting.
In the panel discussion afterwards, there was a question at the end regarding ways to reduce the number of meetings which I just glossed over. If you schedule meetings with developers for only the first hour in the morning, you not only reduce the number of meetings but, also, you don’t destroy the sustainable pace built up from the morning.
So, don’t think about pace as just working 7 hours a day, it’s about what you do in the 7 hours that matters. Get the rhythm going and be anal about things that can kill your flow mid-stream; especially meetings.