I came to Highgroove from a fairly large corporation and it seems like every time I turn around, I’m struck by the difference between my work now, and my work as it was before. So, I started trying to answer the question “what makes it so different?” I come in to the office every day, I sit down at my desk, I write code, and then I go home. But, because Highgroove is a ROWE I realized there’s something different about every one of those steps.
I come in to the office every day. I used to have to be in the office by 9 o’clock every morning for a meeting. Now, I don’t actually have to come in to the office every day. I like to come in to the office, though. There’s lots of good stuff here: awesome Arden’s Garden smoothies, good music playing, and good company. But if the weather’s bad, or I need to be home to sign for a package, or I’ve got some errands I need to run during the day, I don’t have to go in.
I sit down at my desk. It used to be I’d sit down at a shared pairing station every morning. These days, I have a desk of my own again. This is one thing that was a much bigger adjustment than I was expecting; I hadn’t realized how much I’d come to rely on pair programming. It struck me the most while trying to learn a new framework. I would be looking at the documentation, looking back at my code, and the whole time feeling like I was missing half my brain. Now that I’ve figured out it’s the external brain I’m missing, I can start training myself back into my solo programming habits.
I write code. I used to work off of a big task board. Everyone on the team did the same. We’d start at the top, and work our way down. Now, I have to balance my time between different projects. My first month, I was swapping off working on three different projects and trying to balance my time between them, and in some cases planning what work needs to be done as well. I love the flexibility and variety I get working this way, but it also takes a lot more forethought and self-discipline.
And then I go home. The flip side of getting in at 9 every morning was walking out the door at 6 every day. When there’s no time you have to be at work, it’s very easy to fall into a habit of having no time when you’re not at work, either. These days, it’s not unusual to find me working at home in the evenings, or on the weekend if there’s a lot of work to be done.
I’m learning how to give myself just enough of a schedule to know when I’m working, but not so much that I can’t adjust it when I need to. I’m learning to balance my time between projects, and make sure I still find time for the non-client work (like this blog!) and for just having fun with my coworkers. There’s still a lot to figure out, but I’m having a great time doing it!
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