Think twice before interrupting your development team

We can see, that it’s been a long time since you really challenged yourself last. Here’s a little task for you: Sum up the following numbers:








+ 3440



While you’re trying to add these numbers together, another person is interrupting you with questions, that contain numbers, like “What did you do at 3 pm?” or “Which weekday is January 20th?”


Should that not be a problem for you: Respect! If it is; you’re not the only one. Most people find this task very hard and find it challenging to concentrate. Maybe you’ll see that you have to start a few times.



Image Credit:




It’s the same for a developer when their “flow state” is interrupted. Another example would be the situation when someone wakes you from your sleep, and it takes forever for you to fall back asleep. We all know it, and a lot of the times, not even hot milk or counting sheep helps with that. And also if it does, we rarely find back to the dream we might have had before we got woken up.


“Game Developer Management” examined 10,000 programming sessions and found out that a developer has only 2h undisturbed working time on average and most take around 15 minutes after an interruption to start working again. Only 10% can continue their work after a minute. Depending on the number of disruptions, which can reach from “Did you get the mail I sent you 5 minutes ago?” to “Do you want to get lunch together?”, they can cause a significant time loss. Pretty frustrating if you ask us.



Planned Interruptions vs Unplanned Interruptions


In addition to unplanned but still unnecessary and annoying interruptions for the developer, there are planned interruptions like meetings. The time plans of the “maker,” the developer, differs a lot from those of the managers. For him or her a meeting can disrupt a whole day. The developer is less likely to start a more significant project before the meeting. Why? Well, doesn’t your spirit rise, when you know, you have a whole free day to work and let your creative juices flow? That means if not, that spirit is withheld and your receptivity is limited.


Image Credit:




So what can you do for your developer to prevent that?


Just understanding their “mode of operation” is an essential step in the right direction. Now you need to make your employees understand that too. It is also critical to give them the possibility to block a period in their day, to work completely uninterrupted. It’s also essential to use apps like Slack for less important questions and information. The developer can then read the messages when it suits and doesn’t have to interrupt work.


Should you have 30 minutes in your day to spare, watch this helpful video:





The developer can do something too.


Wearing headphones at work isn’t a “developer thing” for no reason. On the one hand, the right music can be beneficial with motivation and to work faster and more creative. Other co-workers are also less likely to talk to them.

On the other hand, they can use different methods to make an interruption less dramatic. Solutions can be put into groups, for example, to work on them one by one.


If that doesn’t help, you might need to decorate the office with this comic.


Image Source:




And? Will you disturb developers again?

Please don’t!

Post Comment