My understanding of programmers temperament and my experience on the job have led me to the conclusion that the optimal number of programmers on a project team is one ”unless you have a programming genius as a partner.
You are ultimately responsible for your own projects. Of course, that doesn t mean that you re responsible just for coding. It means that you re responsible for time management, co-worker relations, and your own workload as well.
Since your programming performance is constantly being measured, you must strictly ration the amount of time you spend helping other programmers. There is a difference between helping a fellow programmer and carrying him. I gladly help other programmers, as others have helped me. That means that when I can spare the time from a project, I help anyone who asks for my help. But the time I spend helping them is at my convenience, not theirs.
When I am focused on a project, I do not allow fellow programmers to come into my office and sit down and interrupt me. If that happens, I simply get up and politely tell my colleague that I m on my way to the bathroom. (This may seem awkward and abrupt, but it is a classic time-management technique.) If you are relegated to working in a cube, and the cube has room for a guest chair, take the guest chair out.
If you are unfortunate enough to have to share a cube with another programmer, and the programmer turns out to be a talker, you must ask to have your situation changed. Remember that when it is time for your annual performance evaluation, you cannot excuse poor performance with the complaint, He made me listen.