Improving your job performance

Getting a promotion or bigger yearly bonus. These are things most of us would be happy to experience and hear. However, they do not come automatically. Earning them requires you to act as a professional. In Davinci, we always want to improve and find various ways to be better. This does not only include code quality but also our soft skills.

Before we start to talk about this, we have to define who is considered a professional. „Someone who takes their responsibilities and career seriously and is willing to make the tough choices that have to be made—often at their own expense—for the purpose of doing what they know is right.”

Overtime and working from morning until the late night is not something that I had in mind. There are certain rules, which a professional must pay attention to:

  • Professional will not only tell you what you want to hear.
  • He will speak loudly his opinion if he sees that the decision customer made is not right, while trying to propose a better one.
  • Being able to tell what he can and can not do is also part of his job.
  • Desire to always improve himself (reading technical literature or attending conferences)

 

However, all of these points don’t usually come naturally. Some of them have to be developed or acquired with knowledge.

One example with which I meet every day happens during our morning meeting. Most developers reading this should be familiar with SCRUM process. However, if you are not, Scrum is a daily stand-up meeting where every member of a team tells what he have done, what he plans to do and mentions potential problems he came in contact with. My colleague always wrote what he was going to say on a piece of paper before these meetings, instead of coming up with it on the spot. That is what i consider a professional behaviour.

How can you become one?

Many of us ask the same question. Amongst different answers we will help you narrow them down to ones we find the most important.

 




Language of commitment, or saying “yes”

Commitment is used in every day situations like estimations ,meetings or deadlines. How can you properly express your commitment?

Phrases which express non-commitment often contain these words:

Need/Should - “This needs to be done“

Hope/wish - “Hopefully this will be done tomorrow”

Every situation described above is saying that we are not in control of current events. Therefore you should use phrases like „I will finish this by Tuesday“, which give out precise time and no loose ends. YOU will be the one to finish that task and you are in control when it will be done.

What if - It wouldn’t work because I rely on another person for this.

Helping your colleague or splitting amount of work between yourselves are also part of things you could commit to. Small steps will also bring you to the finish, instead of waiting and waisting your time .

What if – I do not really know if it can be done.

If it can’t be done, you can still commit to partial actions which will bring you closer to finishing the task. Discussing details with your team leader, or architect is also part of work you could commit to.

What if –I see that i will not make it in time.

Most important thing is to raise a red flag as soon as possible. By doing this you could discuss possible options, or postpone the deadline. This can be problematic and cause some smaller problems. However, they will be much smaller in comparison to bigger problems you could create if you do not seek help from your teammates or manager.

Remember that professionals are not required to say yes to everything. This was not the point of this chapter. Idea behind it was that you should stand by what you say and do your best to make it possible.

Saying No/Try

A commitment from someone who occasionally says „no“ is going to be more credible then from someone who always agrees on every task given to him. If they actually make deadlines they commit to, then as a project manager, I should not question them when they say they can not make one.

The worst thing you could do is to say that you will „try“. Even if the intention can be good, the word try is not always the correct answer.

By promising to try you are committing to succeed. If you do not have any plan which you want to apply and you can not work more hours, then you will surely fail.

People think that by saying the word „no“ they will look weak, however the opposite is true. You will not only help yourself, but also your team as well.



Time management – Pomodoro technique

Keeping track of your time is one of the most important things we will mention within this blog. Pomodoro technique is not only interesting, however widely popular due to the fact that it is easy to learn and try.

How to apply this technique?

  1. Set a timer for 25 minutes
  2. Work only on a single task at a time and give it your complete focus
  3. At the end of the 25 minutes, take a 5 minute break. That’s considered one pomodoro. After every four take a longer break, usually 15 minutes.
  4. Never break focus!

What are the advantages of this technique?

By focusing on single task and not being disturbed by emails, phone calls or internet itself, you will be more productive. These constant interuptions will break our focus and it takes some time to switch our context back to what we were doing – we might loose important idea or piece of knowledge that we would have to think of again.

Psychological aspect of this technique is also really interesting. By measuring how many „pomodori“ one can do within one day, you can actually measure your work. It will not only help you estimate your work/tasks better, but it will give you actual feedback at the end of your day. By looking at how much you have done within that day (based on pomodori number) you can give yourself a break and know that you should not take your work with you home.

Practice - Code kata

Programming kata is a precise set of choreographed keystrokes and mouse movements that simulates the solving of some programming problem. It provides good way to learn hot keys and navigation shortcuts in your favourite editor. But most importantly, it is a good way to drive common problem/solution pairs into your subconscious.

Very interesting website which can be looked on is http://www.codewars.com/. It features various programming problems and solutions from other programmers around the world.

Improving your business knowledge

Business knowledge by itself is one of the most benefitial things you should invest your time in. Not knowing how the business works prevents you from coming up with creative/meaningful ideas. That is why you should not take every detail of work you do for granted and ask business questions behind every decision made within your team.

 

Its inevitable that something will go wrong during your work. However, we should remember, that all of us make mistakes. We should not criticize for making one, rather we should judge how that mistake was dealt with. Soft skills is a good place to start with. When used right, they can be a very powerful way of improving your work ethic. From being more productive to generally a better employee. Soft skills allow us to shape our workplace into a more comfortable one, and at the end, isn’t that what all companies should strive for?

For more insight you can also look into these books:

The Passionate Programmer: Creating a Remarkable Career in Software Development

The Clean Coder: A Code of Conduct for Professional Programmers

 

 

      

Publikované: 08. mar 2016 13:47 | Počet prečítaní: 1497
  • Jozef Burgel

    Java Developer

    Jozef pracuje ako Java Developer v žilinskej pobočke Davinci. Jave a objektovému programovaniu sa venuje už niekoľko rokov, pričom získal znalosti z technológií ako Gwt, Hibernate, Spring, Maven či JSF. Programovanie samo o sebe je jeho najväčšou záľubou vďaka tomu, že ponúka veľký priestor kreativite riešenia problémov. Aj napriek nábehu na workoholika je stále dobre naladený. Vo voľnom čase si dobíja baterky spoločenským tancom, športom či stolovými hrami.

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