> One day I had meetings scheduled from 9AM-10AM, 11AM-Noon, 1PM-2PM, and 3PM-4PM. The next day, my director asked for an account of the team’s progress from the previous day. After I brought him up to speed on what had been completed (and not completed), he asked me, “But what did you program yesterday??” I bluntly told him that I didn’t get any programming done in the previous day, because I had four meetings scheduled. He then asked me, “But those meetings only took four hours. Why didn’t you get any coding done in the other four hours?”
My director had no understanding of the fact that, with four meetings throughout the day, occurring every-other-hour, I had virtually no time to sit down and actually write code. Each meeting on my schedule required at least some degree of “prep work”. And each meeting spawned a series of “take-aways” and follow-on communications that I needed to handle directly afterward. This meant that, at most, I had maybe 30 minutes to do any real coding between meetings - and for any kinda serious mental work, I just wasn’t able to parachute into the middle of a task for 30 minutes and get anything meaningful accomplished.
Last year when I was working for Amazon, I had a dev manager who used to code. After I’d worked there for several months, he somehow got the impression that I was “falling behind”. This was despite the fact that, by numerous metrics (e.g., commits, PRs, completed tasks, LoC), was actually doing several times more work than anyone else on the team.
When you’re sitting in someone’s office, your dev manager may have little understanding of exactly what you’re doing at any point in time. But there’s an incredibly basic (and… ignorant) “metric” that many in-person managers use to “gauge” your efforts: They simple see you working. As ridiculous as that sounds, the sad truth is that, for many managers, their primary “metric” for gauging your productivity is simply that they can walk by your desk and see that you’re… umm, working? They may not be tied into the actual work you’re doing. But at an extremely basic level, they can look up from their own desk and see that you’re… typing? Coding?? Doing something???