Procrastination riddle (the case of computer programmers)

Dear readers!
As a psychologist, I feel the need and consider it my duty to instill faith in IT professionals and share my vision of emerging issues. At the beginning of the XXI century it will be difficult to do without your abilities and your ideas. It is obvious that the virtual information network is growing and improving at a tremendous speed throughout the world, expanding the opportunities for the development and existence of society as a whole, but also imposes more and more behavioral patterns. The development of computer technology is a good business both abroad and in Ukraine. One thing only confuses: where is the person in the whole process? Yes, yes, an ordinary programmer, but are there any "ordinary" ones among them? And then about the main thing and briefly.

“Destroyers are those who set traps for many and call them the state:
they hung a sword on them and imposed hundreds of desires on them. ”Friedrich Nietzsche

Today the volumes of information available to us do not correspond to the human possibilities of knowledge (we are not talking about the quality of this information now). There is still 24 hours in the day, which we try to distribute between sleep, work, school, family, hobbies. Of course, the distribution may vary depending on whether you work for someone or for yourself, have received VO or not, your personal life and leisure - is / is not. If we regularly during the daywe quietly spend our time on all sorts of pleasant “little things” (searching and saving useful sites for future use, browsing interesting sites, visiting social networks, computer games, etc.), then we form (not intentionally, of course!) a dependence on such “activities” and encourage passivity of consciousness . Thus, we are trying to dissolve the tension within us, although it will inevitably increase if current activities are really necessary and important for us. So, on the one hand, procrastination is not a problem for lazy programmers, rather it is now a social problem. The state is interested in making us think less, but cherish destructive emotions, do more routine work and reproduce material, strengthen stereotypes, and generally become lazy creatures. By and large, it is not so beneficial for the state to give us benefits as to build dependence on it. If there is someone who did not know about it, then he certainly felt it. On the other hand, there is personality procrastination , which is due to various reasons, and each of them is characteristic of a certain type of personality. Further, I will talk about the type of personality procrastination that occurs in a person after a series of frustrating situations, that is, those that do not allow achieving the desired goal.
Procrastination - is there a way out?The way out of a person is individual creativity and cooperation. Please note that creativity does not depend on the direction in which you work (IT, economics, psychology, history, pedagogy, etc.). Both thinking and creativity should interact in our lives, otherwise we will remain at the level of reproduction of other people's experience and routine work. For programmers, creativity is especially important, useful and necessary.

The character of Leonard Hofstadter in “The Big Bang Theory”
You have probably noticed that people with different individual and personal characteristics manifest themselves differently in society - decisive / indecisive, open / closed, dependent / independent, etc. It so happens that people of a certain psychological makeup are interested in, and then choose the same or related professions for themselves. As a result of training, which undoubtedly leaves a mark in the psyche, representatives of different professions have different perceptions and structuring of the world. For example, professional programmers have expressed abstract thinking and orientation to the future, as well as a tendency to structure and organize objects, design, word games, mental stuck, etc.
So what type of personality is more common among system programmers?- in order not to use psychological vocabulary, and then not argue about the terminological nuances, I’ll answer - this is the type of Leonard from the series “The Big Bang Theory” with its various life and not very variations. That is, they are intellectuals with low energy, generators of ideas, scholars, skeptics, sometimes vulnerable, uncommunicative people with manifestations of creativity and appearance that are incomprehensible to the majority. Awareness of the problems among the carriers of this psychotype occurs through intellectual stress, and thought in life often prevails over action. To avoid confusion I must say right away - the level of intelligence does not depend on the type of personality, and the psychotype itself is not genetically inherited. So, for programmers with such a dominant type, the problem of procrastination is exacerbated due to their personality characteristics, based on a weak type of higher nervous activity and inertiaas a property of the nervous system. Imagine a situation where the activity of such a person is severely limited and personal creativity is not welcome. So gradually the internal tension of this type of people increases, compensated for in an interesting pastime (but the interests of "Leonardism" without a doubt can be very diverse). And the sadness here is not at all that a person is too lazy to work or poorly motivated, that he lacks planning skills or does not understand the topic ...

Now if we look holistically [taking into account the individual-personality traits and the world of the profession of programmers] , then a kind emerges the picture is a group of extraordinary personalities who in society more often seem to be strangers among their own. I consider it important to briefly note the following:

1) the interview process in the IT sphere is compulsorily different from the generally accepted one;
2) with such a dominant personality type, employees do not accept any newcomer to the team;
3) standard methods of motivation for people of this type do not always work;
4) this type of people solves standard problems / tasks by non-standard methods;
5) the specifics of professional activity and personality requires special attention to the organization of labor of employees of this type;
6) the weak point of this type of personality interferes in everyday life and directly affects the productivity of the work.

On the other hand, it is also true that people who do not correspond to this characterological type can learn to become programmers. Then these people rarely go beyond the boundaries of what is accepted or necessary for someone in their work, and therefore you should not expect original turns from them. As for applied programmers, they are less immersed in the professional environment and therefore differ from their "older" brothers system engineers.

The power of the bottomless, like the blue ocean, of creativity
Today it is especially important for managers to understand the value of a non-standard approach to solving assigned tasks. Developed countries have guessed this - talented domestic programmers are lured to the United States, Britain, Germany, where they can provide such people with freedom of creativity. It should be noted that although mathematicians, physicists, philosophers, artists and writers also have this type of personality, it is precisely among system programmers that professional thinking, together with typological creative (divergent) thinking, gives rise to a qualitatively new and demandedtoday is a mental product. This product is moderately banned and measurelessly sweet. The meaning of creativity, which many fear so much for its unpredictability, lies in its strength. But with such power, you should be careful and use it wisely and as intended, taking into account our mentality in our country.

Main clues in organizational psychological support
All those software development models that initially do not take into account the importance of forming a working group of specialists cannot allow us to expect a finished product of the right quality and at the right time. The rotation of personnel, just like the “mess” during working hours, does not add charm to the company. Therefore, the formation of the project team is especially important, taking into account the personality of each employee. I consider Agile variations to be the most successful development models, but they are not yet suitable for our society. It is this nuance that everyone is trying to omit, not taking into account the possibility of human adaptation. However, such a situation of copying is characteristic of many fields of knowledge in post-Soviet countries. The history of developed countries predetermined the specific features of the development of consciousness of citizens, their values ​​and behavior. In our country, a pragmatic approach and Western values ​​are quickly imposed, but the basic conditions for changing the mentality of the nation are not created. If for various specialists today work for the benefit of the company is not a priority, then what can we say about self-sufficient programmers. I’ll explain my idea of ​​the need to take into account the psychology of the nation in various methodologies using the example of adaptation of foreign psychological tools. Techniques developed in other countries are not easy to acquire and translate into their native language - they need to be adapted for the nation. Otherwise, they simply will not fulfill their main function - measuring, and therefore will not be valuable. That is why various methodologies in their original version cannot work with a bang in our country without adapting to mentality and to a team of specialists. It would be good to solve these issues together with a psychologist. Also, paying enough attention to the issue of personality typology, it is possible to bring to a victorious end the debate about the effectiveness of a self-organizing team. The decision on the need for a project manager post must be made after analyzing the individual characteristics of future team members.

Now we turn to the points mentioned earlier, which outlined the main difficulties with the indicated characterological type of professional programmers in the company.

HR in IT, which does not take into account the specifics of the personality of workers in the field, cannot make an adequate choice and dwell on the applicant necessary for the company. And here’s what’s also the time to understand: if HR in IT is not familiar with the work of programmers, then HOW does he select people? Here there are contradictions regarding the responsibilities of IT in IT, which cannot be ignored. To resolve this contradiction, there are several options (not always working):
- you can contact a recruiting agency, presenting your requirements, but, I think, many have already gone through this. Satisfies / does not suit the company such a selection - it's up to her.
- cooperation of a person who understands the technical side of tasks for the position (team leader, leader, etc.), HR and psychologist.
- HR, who understands the general job nuances in IT and can independently select and interview the right employee (unlikely).
“And why do we need this psychologist?”The psychologist creates an atmosphere of support for the potential employee at the interview, can check the general conformity of the profession at the sensory level, determine the dominant characterological type, orientation of the person, etc. That is, already at the interview there should be a generalized understanding not only of WHAT a person knows and knows, but also of WHO in front of you. This seems valuable and justified not only for the creation of a development group, but also for the formation of the team itself. It is necessary to determine the general trends (which can then be clarified) of the working capacity and behavior of a specialist, but at the same time not to torture him with technical and psychological tests, thereby justifying the importance of his work. It’s very important for HR to realize that creating natural conditionsfor a candidate (read: a person) this is the key to a successful interview.

What happens next when people are already hired?I think it’s not difficult to guess that the effectiveness of the team’s work is influenced by both the group and the individual palette of dominant and secondary personality traits (pure characterological types are rare, while mixtures are psychotypes). To clarify the full picture of typical combinations, it is necessary for the psychologist to conduct a separate diagnosis. Simply put, this is done in order to track the characteristics of interaction both within the team and the relationship of the latter with the bosses. These features will affect newcomers, so if you need to attract a new specialist, you should understand what type can work out with which one. Leonard’s type works in a team, preferably with his own kind,
Thus, it is important not only to be attentive to people, but also to hear them, to understand their personal psychology. Also, people need not only to pay for work, but also to create an atmosphere that is comfortable for work, while maintaining interest. The psychologist can find options and consult with the working team regarding comfortable working conditions, and after approval, participate in their creation, but he / she does not interfere with the project activities of the programmers. We move on.

The fashion for training (again, the western tradition) is an attempt to quickly and effectively solve organizational difficulties in companies. I don’t want and will not criticize the trainings and their effectiveness, I’ll only say that they are appropriate as “first aid” not in all cases of life (and also not cheap) and not for all types of people (this is an important factor). And in general, in practice, few people now take into account the personal typology when recruiting training groups, because there are a lot of costs, and money is needed right now (the “take everyone who comes” approach) - that’s why the effectiveness of the trainings is very, very controversial. As for the theory, it conveniently justifies the practice: the setting and implementation of external goals in the training process should encourage the setting and implementation of internal goalsperson. The paradox regarding “Leonardism” is that often trainings to increase the motivation of programmer employees do not bring the desired result, and if they act, it is only based on the effect of novelty, i.e. not for long. I believe that motivational trainings are not appropriate in isolation from the working team of the week, and the concept itself seems blurry to me.

Instead of imitatingsuccessful behavior in training, from which personal procrastination is only exacerbated, you need to move on to real everyday work, solving problems of a particular type of personality. Indeed, self-motivation is the most natural and effective motivation. In addition, such an external method of motivation as training often directs us to achieve other people's goals, that is, those that are not in tune with our personality, and therefore will not bring satisfaction or happiness over time. Of course, in this case, a person will not become motivated for a long time either. Offering standard reference behaviorgroup of people, not even knowing their real needs (and therefore personal standards), training can only exacerbate the psychological difficulties of some individuals. Usually after passing the training under the influence of euphoria they talk about the impressions of the training, but who is mentioning the consequences or the result of the training? This is a matter for each participant personally. Therefore, it would be more correct for the company not to regularly send someone famous and great to trainings, but to consult with a staff psychologist who is already familiar with the personality of a particular team and could choose a more correct approach to solving problems.

Vocation programmers cannot constantly perform routine work; it is especially important for them to find various solutions to the task. That is why their initiative should be encouraged, not suppressed. The authoritarian atmosphere itself will contribute to a decrease in the working capacity of people of this type. Everyone understands that programming(Let's be honest!) This is a monotonous job when accuracy, attentiveness, perseverance are required throughout the entire working day. Thus, a properly organized regime of the day, support for creativity in work, a healthy working atmosphere contribute to labor productivity. BUT this is not enough to deal with the problem of procrastination. If you want to, you don’t want to, you will have to find time to work on this type of weakness, since it has become painful. It is not possible to force such people to “tie up” with their passive behavior once and for all, they need to be explained their weaknessin which they regularly invest invaluable energy. The day does not move apart, and the problems do not evaporate. The psychologist can clarify the essence of the problem by analyzing the personal characteristics of all employees, and help with the choice of the main solutions, but this characterological type can radically solve the problem of procrastination only if there is interest and personal desire.
Note ...
I do not offer you a simple and painless option, since in this case it simply does not exist.

Work, work, work ...
This short review is an attempt to draw the attention of employers to the personality traits of programmers in order not to be forever “in search” of personnel and to organize their work productively. The trap of many today is the desire to quickly start work and get a good result, while displacing the variability of the human factor. Man is not a static system, and everyone forgets this.

Why do I advocate a personality-oriented approach to solving the problem?- Because, not knowing the personality characteristics of specific people, it is difficult to unravel the mystery of procrastination and solve anything about this. Procrastination may be a situational passive protest against some external situation or may be caused by personal psychological problems. Actually therefore, the spontaneous formation of the working group will not bring a qualitative result. In addition, it is important to first have the image of the desired, which must be realized through goal-setting in practice.

As for the programmers themselves, which implements interface Leanardizm, it must be said that their characterological features and their profession create advantages for individual development in the conditions of our society. It remains only to deal with the personal impasse and start thinking clearly: a way out of the situation is not achieved by reading and thinking - it requires action.
Ab imo pectore

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