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370
votes
21answers
89k views

My customer wants me to record a video of how I develop his software product

Working as a freelancer, I often see strange requests from my customers, some of which can negatively affect my daily work¹, and others trying to set some sort of control. I usually encounter those ...
352
votes
29answers
55k views

Why can't the IT industry deliver large, faultless projects quickly as in other industries?

After watching National Geographic's MegaStructures series, I was surprised how fast large projects are completed. Once the preliminary work (design, specifications, etc.) is done on paper, the ...
334
votes
14answers
96k views

How to respond when you are asked for an estimate?

We, as programmers, are constantly being asked 'How long will it take'? And you know, the situation is almost always like this: The requirements are unclear. Nobody has done an in depth analysis of ...
75
votes
23answers
7k views

How do developers find the time to stay on top of latest technologies? [closed]

I was a freelance web developer until circa 2004 when I started going down the management route but have decided to try to get back into development again (specifically JavaScript and HTML5 web/mobile ...
58
votes
16answers
3k views

How to stop the development spec from changing in mid development?

Problem: It seems with almost every development effort I'm involved in, no matter how much time is spent planning prior to starting development, there is always a large amount of changes required ...
43
votes
10answers
2k views

How to start and maintain an after-work project

I work as a full time developer. My workplace, however, is very limiting in the technologies and programming languages I can use. All of the work is done in C++. It is clear that C++ is rapidly ...
41
votes
19answers
1k views

What to do about “stopping point syndrome”?

I have noticed a behavior in myself that I call "stopping point syndrome"... it means I cannot stop working until I reach a "stopping point" (or I become exhausted). In other words, if I am in the ...
39
votes
8answers
1k views

Should Professional Development occur on company time?

As a first-time part-time software developer at a small consulting company, I'm struggling to organise time to further my own software development knowledge - whether that's reading a book, keeping up ...
37
votes
15answers
5k views

How to code on a very tight schedule?

I'm working on a project that has very tight schedule. I don't have much time to code and test (even though I work more than 12 hours everyday, it's still delayed), and the result is very fragile. Its ...
36
votes
7answers
4k views

How to make significant technical decisions given very little time

I have got 2 days for making a very serious decision about the tools and platforms that my company is going to use in order to port its WPF application to Linux / Android / iOS whatnot. Obviously I ...
33
votes
20answers
6k views

Is it normal for programmer to work on multiple projects simultaneously [closed]

On a current job I have two projects to work on. First is very huge system and the second one is smaller but it also big (first project is being developed for 12 years, second for 4 years). At first ...
32
votes
9answers
960 views

Abstraction: The War between solving the problem and a general solution [closed]

As a programmer, I find myself in the dilemma where I want make my program as abstract and as general as possible. Doing so usually would allow me to reuse my code and have a more general solution ...
26
votes
9answers
1k views

Should I log trivial fixes?

I'm in a code shop of two. And while I understand that a bug tracker is useful where the number of programmers is greater or equal to one, I'm not so convinced that logging bugs, changes, and fixes is ...
26
votes
5answers
7k views

Am I programming too slow? [closed]

I've only been a year in the industry and I've had some problems making estimates for specific tasks. Before you close this, yes, I've already read this: ...
23
votes
13answers
3k views

Encouraging software engineers to track time

How can I encourage my coworkers to track the time they spend resolving issues and implementing features? We have software to do this, but they just don't enter the numbers. I want the team to get ...
21
votes
14answers
4k views

How many programming languages do you work with on a daily basis and how do you effectively manage language specific tasks [closed]

Edit: How do you manage individual tasks when working on multiple languages In day to day task handling, how many different programming languages do you work with? Do you make a mental shift when ...
19
votes
9answers
584 views

Hard-copy approaches to time tracking

I have a problem: I suck at tracking time-on-task for specific feature/defects/etc while coding them. I tend to jump between tasks a fair bit (partly due to the inherit juggling required by ...
18
votes
1answer
1k views

How much time should I dedicate to refactoring my code? [closed]

I don't know if it's just with me, but when I start refactoring some code I waste a lot time doing that and it never ends. Every time I read the code again, I find something that can be improved, ...
15
votes
3answers
1k views

How much detail to put into first iteration of project?

I have just started a new personal project (Python), and am writing what amounts to a "rough draft" of the program, the minimum required to do what I want to do. I am not yet putting in extensive ...
15
votes
9answers
1k views

Does keeping a journal help in your job? [closed]

Years ago, in my first real programming job, my boss encouraged me to keep a journal of my daily activities. I still do so, although no longer a paper and hand-written one. Do you keep a journal, if ...
13
votes
10answers
5k views

Effective methods for managing work tasks? (documenting/remembering/prioritizing) [closed]

I'm looking for suggestions on effective methods that I can use to document, remember and prioritize tasks at work. Many of the these tasks belong to a primary project, but they also exist for ...
12
votes
8answers
1k views

What work intervals are more productive: short or long? [closed]

Which sessions of work are more productive for programming: short (<= 30 minutes), mid-length or long (>= 2 hours)? In which cases? (Consider coding new functionality, doing small modifications, ...
12
votes
4answers
2k views

How to manage time for studying while working? [closed]

I've been programming 8 years for a company. We build business intelligence software systems. Since I thought working is learning, I've always studied in terms of what I was doing at the company while ...
12
votes
8answers
1k views

How much time a week do you spend on extracurricular programming? [closed]

Background: I'm a microsoft DBA/IT type person by day, an iOS and Mac developer by night. I have one app in the App Store and another one in the works. I try to spend as much time as possible working ...
11
votes
12answers
1k views

Does tweeting 9 to 5 hurt job applicants? [closed]

If you were looking into a job applicant's background and discovered that he or she has 1200 followers on Twitter and averages 50 tweets per day (more than half of which are during business hours), ...
11
votes
7answers
1k views

How to handle demanding clients?

Frequently, I have been finding myself overloaded with contracts. Most of the time, I find myself juggling with at least 2 projects, in addition to the numerous websites I have to upkeep and perform ...
11
votes
4answers
1k views

Alternatives to time tracking methodologies [closed]

Question first: What are some feasible alternatives to time tracking for employees in a web/software development company, and why are they better options Explanation: I work at a company where we ...
11
votes
6answers
1k views

How does one effectively implement the 80/20 rule for developer time?

I am a developer at a bank where an 80/20 rule is implemented. 80% of the time you work on your assigned project and 20% you work on something that interests you. However, I'm not really sure how to ...
10
votes
10answers
2k views

How do you deal with time estimates? [duplicate]

If given too little time, quality suffers. If given too much time, developers will find a way to use all alloted time, no matter what. What would be a good way with dealing with estimates? Are they a ...
10
votes
4answers
681 views

Time allocated to code reviews

If you are doing code reviews How much time do you spend on code reviews, compared to implementation? How much of the changes undergo code review? you think it's to much / should be more? Are ...
9
votes
9answers
568 views

Is the time spent customizing your dev machine environment worth it?

There are times when I am working on programming project and I get the itch to change some stuff in my environment (OSX or Linux). Vim might not being doing exactly what I want, so instead of doing it ...
9
votes
1answer
295 views

How should one effectively use time at software conferences?

Microsoft (through the Student Insider program) has generously flown me out to Microsoft TechEd North America 2011. It seems like the website suggests that one should just make a schedule of the ...
8
votes
6answers
1k views

Time management and self improvement [closed]

I hope I can open a discussion on this topic as this is not a specific problem. It's a topic I hope to get some ideas on how people in similar situation as mine manage their time. OK, I'm a single ...
8
votes
6answers
577 views

Who should participate in time estimation?

In an IT project: Who should participate in time estimation? Developer, team leader, scrum master and etc? Whose vote should be counted most?
8
votes
3answers
164 views

Considering consistent change, how short of a planning period is too short?

Change is not uncommon, change in requirements, change in specs change in workflow. I've accepted that there will be change, but I wonder: knowing that change is going to happen, how short of a ...
7
votes
6answers
468 views

Tracking hours on a project

Other than the following, are there any helpful (to programmers) reasons to track hours/time on a project down to the "accurate number of hours per week" level? Reasons: Beneficial to see how ...
6
votes
4answers
230 views

Commitment level to the project? [closed]

You've quoted your time that it will take certain time to produce a piece of software. When you have started the project, is it better to go hard at the beginning and cruise later? or to try to ...
6
votes
5answers
305 views

What to do about “next piece syndrome”?

Inspired by this question: What to do about "stopping point syndrome"? I often find myself a half hour away from knocking-off time having just wrapped up a component of my work, and facing a "next ...
6
votes
3answers
335 views

Existing buggy code or a brand new one? (From time perspective)

I am facing some issues with a buggy library I currently have and it's used in my current project, I need to finish this project as soon as possible in order to deliver it to our client. However, ...
6
votes
5answers
635 views

tracking time for personal projects [closed]

Does everyone track time spent on personal projects? I feel that it is valuable to know how much time (and potential money) has been put into a hobby. I am currently using harvest to track time.
5
votes
7answers
700 views

How to control work of programmers (outsourcers) [closed]

Some time ago I decided to outsource web development projects (php coding & design). I've opened small office abroad with manager and couple of programmers and designer. I just started but already ...
5
votes
7answers
1k views

What software do you use to track time spent on a project? [closed]

What software do you use to track time spent on a project?
5
votes
5answers
263 views

How to get out of supporting deadend sales pitches?

As part of being a programmer, you often are asked to provide estimates/ make slideware / do technical demos for Sales teams to present to end-clients. Sometimes we go along for the 'technical' ...
5
votes
2answers
485 views

When to fix something that is “wrong” but works fine

Short version: I wrote some code that is not done "the right way" because, when I wrote it, I didn't know how to do it. Now that I know how to do it "the right way", how do I decide how to fix it? ...
4
votes
3answers
1k views

Are these good reasons for moving to Microsoft web development platform? [closed]

Background I do PHP and Ruby on Rails development in my spare time, and have learned quite a bit on my own. I chose those technologies because of the low cost of entry, since everything is ...
4
votes
2answers
377 views

Writing Large Portions Of Code Then Debugging?

Lately I have been writing a game engine, and I have been writing a lot of "foundation stuff" (standard interfaces, modules, a message system ect.), but I have noticed a pattern, a lot of the stuff is ...
4
votes
6answers
612 views

How should I manage my time? [duplicate]

There are times when just one bug that keeps eating away your time like hell ... for example this one. I generally end up wasting hours and realize I've gone terribly behind my schedule and not ...
4
votes
3answers
815 views

What is the most effective way of communicating potential delays in software development?

In development, what is the best way to manage delays? For example, you're doing a task, new requirements come in/something which further steepens the learning curve of something that must be learnt ...
3
votes
6answers
360 views

Multiple projects - similar platforms or as different as possible?

When working on multiple projects simultaneously (for the sake of simplicity let's say half time each on two projects), which is better? Should the two projects Use the same language? Same/similar ...
3
votes
6answers
486 views

How do you keep your customers informed about the exact time you spent on their projects?

In my answer of the question about what are the important points to consider when starting your own company, I mentioned the fact that when the customers pay per hour of work, there must be a way for ...