The Productivity Trap

15 Jul

Writing code feels good. It feels productive. Every line of code you write directly correlates to some kind of output. This is not what product designing or resolving team issues feels like.

A day of talking to your team about product design details or any other disagreements just  feels like a wasted day. There is nothing physical the team can show for their time. However, in the past week, as I’ve been working on teams, I’ve found that every time I prioritized “productivity” (aka writing code), the team ended up being less productive.


In one example, our team of four split up into pairs of two to program different components of our product. After my pair and I finished coding all the methods for an object in ruby, we found out that the other pair was working on some of the same exact methods in their object (which overlapped a bit with ours).

In other words, we didn’t spend enough time ironing out our product design to clarify which object did what and how they interacted together. However, the whole time my pair and I were programming “our part” of the project, we felt really good and productive about it.

Unfortunately, I find myself falling into the productivity trap over and over again, even by myself. It just feels soooo good to write some code!

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