"Waiting times" at work.

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Hey guys. We all know that this happens - waiting for a new project, a new task... Sometimes it happens for days or weeks. What do you do then?
Normally I read about my technology stack, do some challenges, look for inspirations on Dribbble or CodePen. But what do you do? Can you recommend something creative?

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I didn't know that could happen to be quite honest with you, there is always something to do at the companies I've worked at up until now..

But I would probably clean up some technical debt, which isn't always the most fun thing to do, but rewarding in the end. And sometimes you will thank yourself later that way :)

 

Yea, it's more like when you come to a new company and you are waiting for the project. When you are between projects - that's an easier thing to manage. I'm trying to read something up for the next project but you know how it is - something will always distract you. Yet you are right - cleaning up some technical debt from old (even private projects) is a good idea! πŸ‘

 

When you come to a new company, your first duty is to learn. So if you have available time until someone gives you a task, try reading the docs of the project you'll need to work on, or playing with the product to learn what it does and how you use it.

 

We all know that this happens - waiting for a new project, a new task... Sometimes it happens for days or weeks

In leading a team, one of my more important roles is to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the team under real-world conditions. Real-world conditions are impossible to simulate outside of a real-world situation, so to grow a developer to their maximum potential requires that I make use of every real-world opportunity I have. If there is a gap of time where I don't have real-world work to challenge developers, it's my responsibility to go find one and assign it to them. I maintain a very fluid informal relationship with my stakeholders*, so if I find my team is out of work, I tell them to tell me whatever they think is the next thing the team might have to work on. I then convert that into tasks, and keep the team busy working on the hypothetical future work. The goal is not to "get ahead" of work, but to continue to give my team the opportunity to grow.


* A typical conversation with stakeholder over the phone in a situation like this:

Them: "Hello?"

Me: "Da fuq?"

Them: "What do you mean?"

Me: "We're out of work. You have one job to do. You need me to do your job for you?"

Them: "I know, I know...we're just trying to get some approvals before we add work to the backlog."

Me: "I got an idle team, which is teaching them to be lazy. You want a team that's learning to be lazy?"

Them: "You know I don't, but we don't have something for them to work on."

Me: "Do better. You have one job."

Them: "Well, we were talking about maybe doing a _______ integration with ______ but we're not sure if we're going to move forward with it."

Me: "What's the probability that the work would actually be scheduled?"

Them: "Honestly, probably 80%, as we need to do it eventually."

Me: "Cool, that what we're going to start working on. Any objections?"

Them: "No."

Me: "Alright, send me an email to that effect so we have a CYA. Cool?"

Them: "Cool."

Me: "Also, if we get this done before the real work shows up you're taking us out for dinner and drinks at the place of our choosing. Deal?"

Them: "If you can pull it off, definitely."

 

That's a great idea! I love this conversation :D I think I'll mention this type of approach! :) Thank you :D

 

Seems like a great time to blog. If I were unable to tangibly contribute with code, I feel like I'd turn to writing... about something I'd done lately or maybe something new I'm learning. And then I'd make a few DEV posts πŸ˜„

 

That's what I'm doing! πŸ’ͺI'm gathering even more material for next blog posts πŸ˜„
Oh btw - you think it's better to "import" whole blog post to DEV or just import description and leave "read more" button to the main website?

 

I write some documentation, work on some side projects, or make some prototypes of things I'd like to see working at work.

 
 

That's usually referred to as "slack time" and you're lucky to find yourself in that situation.

If you're working at a consultancy or freelancing company, that could mean you're "on the bench" which isn't always so good because that means no billable hours. If it's a regular software dev shop, then you've got salary and they expect you to provide 1.5x to 2x (minimum) value for the salary.

I would recommend checking out Safari Books Online (accessible with a $250/year subscription to ACM) or LinkedIn Learning. Learn an additional skill that complements your current skills, such as backend/server coding or DevOps with Amazon Web Services or sales/presentation skills (always useful when trying to be persuasive and convincing in a corporate environment).

Essentially, you want to learn new things that will transfer over to other jobs as well.

 

Ask your manager what you can do to help, there's probably something he or she is struggling with. If they can't think of anything, what bothers you about the company right now? Is there anything you can do to fix that by contributing something? Are there obnoxious tasks you can automate?

 

Yup, that's what I'm doing right now :) I'm automating business work :)

 

At the company I work at we have some internal projects that we can jump on to and off from that are not mission critical but make internal processes a little more enjoyable. Our iOS and Android developers are working on a time tracking app that hooks into the API of our otherwise web based time tracker. Our Java-Developers started on a Slack Bot for Standups (which went public in the meantime in case you want to check it out: olaph.io). I work on some tools that integrate the services we use, and otherwise like to spend my time on open source PHP libraries. Thatβ€˜s one of the things that I like about our company: we are encouraged to improve ourselves by working on projects like this, and at the same time can enhance the visibility of the company by doing it.

So, even when we have some idle time customer project wise, we can always stay busy \o/

 

Wooo I've used Olaph in the previous company! :D Great work guys! :)
And thanks for ideas, it actually helped me! :)

 

I generally catch up on conference videos on youtube for whatever technology I find interesting at the time or I think might help in the future. Generally gets listed as professional development time on my time reporting.

 

Catch up on conference videos πŸ€” sounds like a plan for me! Thanks! :)

 

One: Read a Book

Two: Write a Blog

Three: Write your own Book

Four: You wont be waiting after that for anything, I know for sure.

 

Honestly, i just binge watch Anime. Bad habit really, i should probably stop, i guess?

 

I'm up to date with all Anime this season so πŸ€·β€β™€οΈ:P

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