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My company asked me to set up a personal goal of improving time management. This means keeping up with time reporting, revising estimates and being responsive to email inquiries.

Of course, I have read books on the topic and have tried numerous systems. I just get absorbed in coding to the exclusion of administrative tasks. I think most of it is an attitude or a psychological issue unrelated to actual time management.

The company is willing to pay for it as professional training, so I'm looking for a recognized and effective training program. I would like something that doesn't just "fix" a problem, but potentially makes me more "promotable". I'm valued for my technical skills, but management is frustrated by my poor fit into overall planning and I understand that it's my main obstacle to handling more responsibility.

What programs are out there that are tailored to effective and timely software development? I wonder if any project management training would be applicable, but something more specific to a software developer, or technical lead perspective would be great.

Thank you.

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Interesting question, but if you could clarify what makes it programming or development related, it might be closer to on-topic. –  Steve Evers Apr 11 '11 at 18:55
It sounds like you are being managed out. I suggest you change your commpany. –  Carnotaurus Apr 11 '11 at 19:19
You may be asking the wrong question: programmers.stackexchange.com/questions/55206/… –  JeffO Apr 11 '11 at 19:48
I'd question how well does management buy into your development process and how mature are your estimates as a starting point. Do you use planning poker and other techniques to make your estimates or are you given the estimates and told, "Make it work!" –  JB King Apr 11 '11 at 20:01

2 Answers 2

Find out what the goals are for these areas:

  • When is time reporting due?
  • When are revised estimates due?
  • What is the acceptable response time to email?

How much do they expect this to take up of your time? You'll really need to start adjusting estimates now.

You may find that this is the type of stuff that puts other people on the hook with their superiors. It's real easy for someone to complain about you not getting back to an email than writing bad code (as long as it works). Start covering yourself and document these events. Establish some sort of baseline. You may not be as bad as people would like to think. It only takes a few complaints to make it look like your over-all performance is lagging when your average is within acceptable limits.

Then you can see how far you need to go with any kind of formal time management training. You may just need to get it in your head that you need minimize your coding time (even though you prefer not to) and set time for the odious duties.

As a former teacher you learned to: turn in your grades on time, don't bother the principal with discipline problems, and keep the janitor happy (unless you want to freeze in the winter and roast in summer). It's called playing the game. It gets to ridiculous, you get out.

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Read Getting Things Done and apply what you learn, it's the only book about productivity and time management that makes any sense. Don't waste money on expensive trainings, unless your manager insists on that. If you really want to improve, you need to put effort yourself.

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