Productivity logging and time management for smart software consultants

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Why productivity logging is the key to software development time management

By Randall Nagy

TheServerSide.com

War torn application developers who continue to write code do so because they love the craft. But despite a passion for syntax, software consultants need to recognize the value of not only documenting their code, but also the value of documenting their work effort and daily activities. Even the best and most Agile software developers find themselves on failing software projects from time to time, and when a frustrated management team starts pointing the finger, the hard working software developers need a log of their efforts and activities so they too can point a finger right back.

The importance of measurement

Once performance is measured,  performance invariably improves. Similarly, keeping productivity logs can make developers more productive. But beyond that, productivity logs help to explain away missed milestones and deadlines, especially after tallying up all of those unexpected half hour and forty-five minute meetings that meant more time was spent talking, and less time was spent actually coding. When someone in management wants to know why things are running a tad off schedule, a well documented productivity log can help explain problems away.

EzLog4J is one such documentation tool that when used can document productivity while at the same time having the positive side effect of encouraging folks to stop wasting time. With such a tool readily at hand, developers are encouraged to document their tasks, which includes everything from the time invested writing code to the time spent reading any newly released requirements.

The evolution of EzLog4J

EzLog4J itself evolved from an open source, C/C++ framework demonstration program. Whenever a program used the C++ API to update an .ezlog file, EzLog4J would detect, merge, and display the changes. While perhaps a tad mundane at first,  more and more features have been added to EzLog4J in recent years. Now, in addition to merely recording a software developer's activities, the log entries can now be hotel ranked as being one to five stars, exported, imported, and even used to tally the hours worked using stop and start events.

Any software engineer or application architect who works in a fast paced and highly charged development environment must get used to logging their own personal activity. Beyond the fact that such logs encourage us to do more each day, good documentation can be used to support a given work effort when things become problematic. A well documented log will always help to spur the ability to remember, and a well documented truth always has the ability to free a hardworking software developer from trouble.

27 Apr 2013

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