Why planning tasks that lasts more then 2 hours is a bad idea?
The biggest problem that every software developer is facing is productivity. When was the last time You tried to do some project from scratch and after playing around with it for a while, You have abandoned it?
I know I had done this numerous times. So I tried to examine what was the main cause of this. The answer I got was that I was not organized enough. See when You don’t plan things beforehand, You are not gonna have any motivation or focus to do stuff. So the most important thing is to plan ahead, at least one week ahead. But this is nothing new that I am saying here. We have agile methodologies that solve these problems. We have kanban and scrum. Two awesome sites that You can use to practice these techniques are Trello and KanbanFlow.
But I am going to go one step further. In scrum there is a term called “epic” which means that the task is so vague and long that it can’t go on planning board as it is currently, but it needs to be split into smaller tasks. I think that whenever developer thinks that task is going to take more then 2 hours of his time, that task is epic and it should be split into smaller tasks.
Let’s get back to the beginning of this post. Productivity. When we have such tasks that everything is explained so clearly and the change is so small that it’s gonna take us only one hour to finish it, we know exactly what to do, we are prepared and our brain knows exact actions it needs to perform and it’s not going to try and get us to procrastinate.
When we are faced with a task that is going to take us forever to finish it, our brain does everything he can to try and avoid having to deal with it. We feel overwhelmed by the task. Only way to beat this is to just start doing it. And if you know the task is not going to take us long, then we are playing that game on easy mode.
This not about refusing to do tasks that are to difficult to do and that are going to take us a long time. This is just about organizational skills and our ability to split them into smaller chunks, that we can easily absorb.
So try it for a while and see if this helps You finish that project that is long forgotten.
About the Author
29 year old software developer and beer brewer from Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina, currently living and working in Frankfurt am Main, Germany.