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Building brand awareness through content creation and community engagement.

July 11th, 2007

Being Productive

I’ve been working at cnp for a little over a year now and I am impressed with how much we’ve produced over that time. All of my previous experience was in the corporate world with development teams more than quadruple the size of cnp_studio. Yet, in the past year I believe we’ve more than tripled the output of what I experienced in those other environments. So what is it about the environment here at cnp_studio that makes us more productive?

Team Size Lets face it, the amount of turnover in a company increases as the size of the company increases. This means that most of the stronger employees are spending their time bringing new hires up to par. Yes, your company may be hiring some great people. However, every work place has different procedures and no matter how smart or talented an employee is, it still takes time to learn those procedures.

Better Tools This is one of those things that larger corporate companies can easily fix, but for some reason don’t. Getting your employees the latest IT tools is expensive, however, the return in productivity is well worth it. At a previous employer I started working with a computer that was more than 4 years old with a single 13-inch CRT monitor and only had a software license for the operating system. This left me spending hours and hours not only waiting on my computer to do the simplest tasks, like minimizing a program, but also searching for decent open source software to work with. It wasn’t until I had been with the company nearly 2 years that I finally inherited a newer computer that happened to already have a license for Zend Studio from a higher up developer that was leaving. Needless to say, my productivity from that change alone more than doubled.

When I first started at cnp_studio I had an up-to-date computer, two 17-inch LCD monitors, and all the software tools I needed to do my job well. Here I’ve never had an issue getting new software to complete projects. This meant that I can sit down and do the work I’m here to do; not sit here and wait for my computer catch up with me or spend my time switching between programs because a) my one monitor is too small to fit what I need to see on it and b) the software I’m using doesn’t provide all the functionality I need to be productive.

Interuptions Being a developer takes a lot of concentration. We’re tossing around a lot of variables and functions in our heads while we’re working. Getting a quick question from a manager may only take 5 seconds of the managers time, but it takes an average of 15 minutes of the developers time to get back into the state of mind s/he was in before the interruption. On a corporate IT team, unless you have your own office building apart from the rest of the company, interruptions are unavoidable. You’re just too close to the end-user. While being close to the end-user does speed up the development process when you’re trying to gather project requirements, which Nick does a great job at in spite of the separation, it means that you’re always going to have an “emergency” someone wants to tell you about. Six to 8 little emergencies a day isn’t abnormal, which ends up being an hour and a half to two hours lost every day.

About the Author
Michael Pretty is an application developer for the Voce Connect Platforms team with a background in developing for PHP, mySQL, WordPress and a handful of other environments. Follow him on Twitter @prettyboymp

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