A few months ago, I wrote about How to Destroy Programmer Productivity. Since then, I’ve had people ask me how to be productive.
There’s no One Weird Trick! to being productive, and anyone who says there is is selling you something. What makes you productive may not make me productive, and vice versa.
I rail against open floor plans, but that’s because they make an easy foil. I’ve never met a programmer who thought they were good for getting actual programming done, and I’ve never met a business person who thought they were bad for business. If anything, when a company goes to an open floor plan, there’s almost a cultish reverence of it, complete with tours and media opportunities (never mind the documented negative effects it has on productivity). See? There I go again.
Open Floor Plans are just like everything else on that list: They’re a vehicle for distraction. Distraction is easy; concentration is hard. As many times as not, I’m not productive because of me, because of something I’ve let distract me.
It may seem tautological, but:
Remove anything that distracts you, and you’ll be productive. If you’re lucky.