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The "Zone" #186
Here are two fair-use excerpts:
Personally, I often zone program, and if I'm not there I will do something to bring myself back there, but I can't help think his words ring a degree of truth/wisdom.
The first is definitely true. It can be easy to fall into a rabbit hole and then an hour or two later realize it all wasn't worth it. That tends to happen to me on difficult problems, though, which I feel to be a different scenario than when I'm properly "In The Zone". The key is identifying when you could be in the rut in the first place.
Secondly, I don't pair, so that doesn't bother me.
I really like the asynchronous workflow idea, particularly asynchronous group chat. I think his beef with the zone is that it doesn't fit into meeting-oriented cultures. I know I get downright pissed when I am called away from deep focus into a meeting. The fallout from that is I tend to seclude myself away when zoning so I can avoid a work culture that doesn't mesh with a developer-like culture:
I think this is the real demon, not keeping lines of communication open. I think I will try the pull-request style for my next team project.
I guess Bob's definition differs sightly from Joel or Harald Armin Massa: http://lanyrd.com/2012/europython/srzkx/
What Bob calls the zone, is not an state of maximum productivity, focus and good feelings. But an state of over-engineering, anxiety, and being happy just with the volume of sh## you dumped.
Over engineering because you've lost the picture and you code like crazy. You end up with features and functionality that you don't need right now, and usually you will never need. You break KISS, and you get lost in your own ideas.
In this state you feel anxiety because you run to finish the initial task, you know that you're doing something "extra", so you run for it, and any time you loose is another delay. Therefore, you isolate yourself to run faster. You feel the pressure of finish and anxiety keeps you there alone.