Looking in to the mirror

— Bryan Allred

So recently we got it in our heads to record our daily work for later review. The idea was to assess various points:

Our findings

Our experiment spanned 5 days and we recorded approximately 40 hours of video and audio. Some portions were not recorded because of sensitive data and/or logic but the sampling is still pretty decent.

How much coding was done?

Roughly about 18 hours. Languages used were the following:

How much work other than laying down code was performed?

While some may consider this to be interruptions we have come to accept certain things as just part of the job. You can’t escape some form of paperwork and meetings because honestly composing a body of work would be extremely dangerous without them!

How frequently were we interrupted?

The short answer is on average every 20 to 30 minutes. Depending on the duration and level of focus applied to the interruption it took from 5 to 30 minutes to get back in to a “groove”.

It should be stated the interruptions significantly decreased when simple “privacy” indicators were used. These ranged from donning headphones, closing the office door, and working during off hours when the rest of the household is incapacitated.

How did we respond to interruptions?

Kind of depended on the length of the interruption. If it was a brief moment (5 minutes or less) then almost no break in stride. Anything that took longer seemed to mean the focus was lost on the task at hand and applied to whatever the interruption was. This of course meant reading business rules and logic again as well as surrounding code before getting back to the neglected task.


Overall it was a neat experiment! Coding does not make for great video footage most of the time. But when there is serious thought put in to a particular problem things get interesting. Sometimes it would get kind of humorous when there was talking to oneself, pacing back and forth, a lot of grunting and white board use producing in obscene caricatures.

Probably the most important aspect to this process was just basic self awareness. It was good to see how interactions with people and communication would change dependent on the situation and environment. Also, different work styles suit people better than others and there really isn’t a “one size fits all” answer.