Interruption is the enemy of productivity

Interruption is the enemy of productivity.”
Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson
in Rework.

OctopOSS are tightly entangled beasts. There are so many complexities that collaboration with your fellow project members is essential.

But too many OSS projects get bogged down due to different forms of communications – meetings, documentation, conferences, chatting with colleagues and so on. As the team from 37signals indicates in the quote above, all these interruptions are quite counter-productive to getting anything productive done.

They also go on to state, “getting into that (concentration) zone takes time and requires avoiding interruptions. It’s like REM sleep: You don’t just go directly into REM sleep. You go to sleep first and then make your way to REM. Any interruptions force you to start over. And just as REM is when the real sleep magic happens, the alone zone is where the real productivity magic happens.”

What are the techniques that you use to ensure your OSS team gets long periods without disruption? Periods of the day (or whole days) where meetings are banned? Work-from-home days (or the hotel for expatriate teams)? Separating certain team members (eg developers) from the customer?

The hard part is finding the balance between the absolutely essential interaction / collaboration, particularly with customers, whilst avoiding busywork and interruptions. You do need an interruption avoidance plan prior to entering into an OSS project.

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