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Part I: Group Development > Irksome Interruptions

Chapter 6. Irksome Interruptions

Interruptions can be irksome. On the other hand, a bug that doesn't come to your attention may stay in the code, and an idea that you never hear about won't help you solve a problem. How well and how efficiently people communicate within an office or on a project team can make a real difference in performance. Sharing an office makes it easy to share information. Sometimes that's a plus, sometimes not. The kind of intense and focused thinking that is necessary for good code construction or for ferreting out elusive bugs benefits from sustained and undivided attention. When the words of an article or the lines of code just seem to flow from the fingertips, the last thing you want is someone throwing in a casual comment about something Robert X. Cringely wrote. At other times, the fresh perspective of someone else's off-hand remark may get you thinking along new lines. Sometimes, talking through a design with an attentive listener can help you see what is missing or where hidden problems might lurk.

Good office teamwork requires easy access without irritation. People who work together or share the same working space have many legitimate reasons to interrupt each other: asking for help, tossing out ideas, checking on status, and, in general, coordinating the work at hand. On the other hand, uninterrupted time to think and create is essential. An ill-timed interruption can erase a great idea, kick an elusive thought just out of reach, or make you lose track completely within a complicated line of reasoning.


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