I am part of a "heads down" team (a term I learned in my question [1]).
My question to more experienced software engineers is, how do you best get organized and plan your day in such a team that the expectation is to be self driven so that you are most efficient and productive?

[1] How to be more effective when working "alone" and with no prompt feedback

  • 2
    You might get a better response over at productivity.stackexchange.com :)
    – Jane S
    Commented Sep 20, 2015 at 23:32
  • Based on the chatter below, it seems the asker is not "working alone" so much as "working without other developers." There's a lot of unknowns here. Without knowing the playing field or the other players, how can we recommend strategies?
    – Thomas Cox
    Commented Sep 21, 2015 at 4:30
  • @ThomasCox: there are other developers but they are not open to team work
    – smith
    Commented Sep 21, 2015 at 20:35

1 Answer 1


Assuming that you are working on an internal line of business applications (either directly or indierectly) work closely with the business users to determine what they need as their top priority, and then make that your priority. You'll need to make sure you don't get side tracked by the bug/feature of the day (ie make sure that what you are working on is apriority, not just what happened 5 minutes ago).

Most likely you have a backlog of what is wanted/broken, work it. But also learn what your users do so you can do so intelligently.

The name for this methodology is Kanban.

  • Everyone "claims" that what they need is of high priority. And sometimes what is needed either is impeded by other stakeholders or contradicts other users requirements or is too complex and tine consuming. I am trying to find a way to schedule my day so that I can be most efficient and not lose time because of the above problems
    – smith
    Commented Sep 20, 2015 at 15:02
  • But in order to do that don't I need a good plan to organize my day? What is the most effective way when working alone?
    – smith
    Commented Sep 20, 2015 at 15:13
  • Yes, but what is the best way to organize my day, track how much time I have spend/lost with all these persons?
    – smith
    Commented Sep 20, 2015 at 18:31
  • 1
    @smith: You don't organize your day, you prioritize what task you need to get done and then do it. You are one person, you can't really effectively work on more than one thing at time. Unless you are working on more than one project, saying I'll work on x from 8-11 and y from 11 until lunch is a waste of time -- pick a task, work it until its done. You should record your time spent on each task, but not to organize or report, but rather so you can feed that into your time estimates. If you are blocked, communicate the block to relevant parties and then move on to next priority.
    – jmoreno
    Commented Sep 20, 2015 at 19:33
  • --- I'd also like to point out that none of this time is "wasted", it is used to determine what gets done, when it gets done, what it looks like and that it is the right thing to do. Just because you don't have a business analyst or ui designer on your team does not mean that the busines rules don't have to be determined and the ui designed.
    – jmoreno
    Commented Sep 20, 2015 at 19:42

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