This is the first post of results of PEST2.
How to fight with boredom?
It was the experience of the PEST2 that life at workplace can’t get boring as management (or upper management) usually finds some creative way to spice things up. For example:
- “Everybody must use this new tool”
- “We are changing the management to be more lean in taking decisions”
- “This project is most important. Yes, even more important than yesterdays top priority.”
Or ‘outside’ changes create new and exciting challenges:
- The development teams silently decides to change the underlying database system
- 3rd party hardware is suddenly out of stock and new one needs to be used
- Legislation (or Apple demands) are changed in the middle of the project
If you are being blessed with stable company/project and the boredom starts creeping in there is thing we recommend to do:
- Hold a “Bug chase competition”
- Select 1 hard to reproduce bug
- Agree on a timeframe (30-45 minutes recommended, or 90 for advanced players)
- Explain the rules: “First one to find confirmed sequence for reproducing the bug, wins”
- Declare the chase started.
- Organizer should move around and comment on progress, creating ‘competitive’ environment
- Winner gets respect. (And 3 wins in a row gets a case of beer).
- If time runs out without winner, back to work.
- Why is this good?
- Friendly competitions are great for “war stories”. And are fun.
- Clear result gives real feeling of satisfaction of job well done, extra refreshing in long-winding projects.
- Development on personal skills and knowledge of the product
- Developers could be included for more integration of teams (and excitement)
- Bugs might get fixed quicker.
- When can this fail?
- If participants don’t want to do this
- If there are no winners (too hard bugs)
- If it happens too often it will feel like work and not fun.
- When project is not stable, then additional “sprint” can feel like overload
- Instead/additionally, arrange other quick challenges/puzzles like: “Plenty questions” or “Testing Dice“
Additionally, remember, that “being bored” has a reason. It could be repetitive or seemingly non-sense work. Try to figure out how to improve it – so it could be done more quickly and efficiently.
- If it is repeatable – may it should be automated
- If it doesn’t need much domain knowledge/skill – maybe outsource it
- It it should not be done at all – don’t do it. And provide reasons.
“Boring” is also “stable“. Stable is much better than constant firefighting, so be careful what you wish for. Usually people like stability much more than anarchy. There are two general types of people, assign tasks and projects accordingly:
- Sprinters, who are highly active and excel in short, very demanding and changing tasks.
- Marathoners, who have the will to carry through longer projects without grinding to halt.