Programmer Interrupted

Even if you’re not a programmer, chances are you find it disruptive to be interrupted when in deep concentration, a concept some middling managers can find hard to comprehend. A study, using pupil-dilation and sub-vocal monitoring to examine the effect of interruptions on programmers clearly shows – regaining concentration can sometimes take 10-15 minutes. 

_”If an interrupted person is allowed to suspend their working state or reach a “good breakpoint”, then the impact of the interruption can be reduced (Trafton:03). However, programmers often need at least 7 minutes before they transition from a high memory state to low memory state (Iqbal:07). An experiment evaluating which state a programmer less desired an interruption found these states to be especially problematic (Fogarty:05):

* During an edit, especially with concurrent edits in multiple locations.
* Navigation and search activities.
* Comprehending data flow and control flow in code.
* IDE window is out of focus.”_

Programmer Interrupted


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