Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Quiet working spaces

Software programming is primarily a mental job. Your entire work is done by your brain. Whatever your brain thinks is eventually typed by your hands on your keyboard to form the code that forms the software you're working on.

Now, the brain can process seven plus or minus two chunks of information at the same time. It is important for the software programmer to utilize as many as possible of these seven plus or minus two chunks of information on the work he is doing. That gives him the best results.

Now, imagine a scenario where there is a programmer in a room where there are other programmers, sales people, managers and what have you. To an extent, it is all right to have other programmers who respect the need for peace and quiet. But heaven help the programmer who has sales folk and managers in the same room. The primary job of these two categories of people is to talk. Often without thinking. But that's an entirely different story.

So, when you have these myriad people performing different roles in the same room as programmers, it is a sure recipe for disaster. Well, maybe not disaster, but definitely a lot of wasted man hours. A few chunks of the seven plus or minus two are taken up by the various conversations going on in this room. This greatly debilitates a programmers ability to do a good job at what he's doing.

Even if companies cannot afford to give programmers individual, enclosed rooms, they should seriously consider giving a group of programmers separate rooms where peace is guaranteed.

This will tremendously increase overall productivity in the company.

5 comments:

Kartik said...

I guess we discussed this earlier too. In fact even I sit in an area with a lot of activity - HR, Finance and a marketing guy, all of them are placed around me. The best way to beat this, in my opinion is to seal yourself off with repetitive music! It might seem to be a distraction in the beginning, but at one point you will get used to it, and the music just becomes part of the background sealing you off from other noise!

Kamal D Shah said...

I really must try that. The only problem being the initial problem you mention. A few chunks of my five (7 - 2 !!) will be used up by the music.

But yes, must try it.

B said...

I think music itself will be distracting as well. It has to be low key like those Bapna CDs for us to keep focusing. Despite being a music enthusiast I never listened to it while studying.

In the US, I often see folks using the BOSE QC headphones in the office (or something similar).

Nicky said...

I think a noise cancellation headphone - without any music will be enough to reduce disturbance in the surroundings without adding an extra disturbance.

Kamal D Shah said...

Yes Nicky, you are right. But they cost a bomb! I checked and if I remember correctly, they cost around 10K or something!