When browsing Øredev’s videos from the 2009 conference I found another one that interests me. Dan North talks about Our Obsession with Efficiency.
The description says:
So here’s the thing, I don’t believe in efficiency. It’s our obsession with efficiency that has got us into the current technology mess, and which has led almost directly to heavy waterfall processes. Efficiency is how you let the big vendors sell their bloated technologies to the poor CIOs.
Dan talks about efficiency (doing things right) versus effectiveness (doing the right things). One of his comments is that Effectiveness is often inefficient.
The videos from Øredev 2009 are starting to show up. Scott Hanselman had a keynote on Information Overload and Managing the Flow that I missed at the conference but now have seen on video.
The program text says:
As developers, we are asked to absorb even more information than ever before. More APIs, more documentation, more patterns, more layers of abstraction. Now Twitter and Facebook compete with Email and Texts for our attention, keeping us up-to-date on our friends dietary details and movie attendance second-by-second. Does all this information take a toll on your psyche or sharpen the saw? Is it a matter of finding the right tools to capture what you need, or do you just need to unplug.
Scott talks about effectiveness (doing the right things, moving the ball forward) and efficiency (doing things right). He covers many ideas and concepts like email rules, the importance of triage (decide if deal with or not, when), The Pomodoro Technique, Dave Allen’s GTD, Covey’s quadrants and the principles of flow.
Scott also says that the optimal number of threads in a system (including us humans) is one, in other words no multitasking. When it comes to tools Scott recommends Evernote for information storage and Remember The Milk for to-do-lists. Personally I am not keen on computerized to-do-lists, I prefer to write lists by hand.