Author: Denis St-Michel
Programmer Denis St-Michel shares his story on how he became a 'Certified Pomodoro Master'. Denis first discovered the Pomodoro Technique in September 2010, after which he diligently applied the Technique, following the incremental objectives detailed in the Pomodoro Technique book. We hope that his story inspires you to become a Certified Pomodoro Master, too!
Back in beginning of 2010, the company where I work decided to put aside everything that we were doing for the past 10 years to focus on our new main product line - iGOvirtual. I am the only programmer there, and that meant I was to develop our entire portal service all by myself. What a great challenge! I knew I had to rethink the way I was working, and so I started to search the web for better work methodologies.
I came across all the Agile/Scrum methodologies and started applying them to my workflow. I must also say that I'm entirely working remotely, at my home, and I'm going to the office only every two Fridays for some meetings and planning.
During my search for a better way to work and improve my efficiency, I came across your Pomodoro Technique. I loved the moment I read it. I then downloaded the Focus Booster application (this is not an official Pomodoro Technique application) and used it as my kitchen timer.
So, since September 2010 I have been combining the Pomodoro Technique with the Scrum/Agile programming technique, and I must say they fit together very well! Since then, I begun the habit of breaking all of my duties into very small chunks. This was very helpful, because before that, I was always seeing my projects or part of my projects as 2-3-4 days of works. Now everything that I do related to work (preparing my presentations, researching technologies, etc.), I break into small 25 minutes chunks.
I use an Excel file to record what I do and the number of pomodoros it took me to complete it. Better yet, this Excel file is also my log for my all my Scrums and product Backlog. Now I can have an overview of everything I do in a couple of seconds. Plus, now that I've been using these techniques for a few months, I'm getting very accurate at estimating in how many chunks I must split a task. I'm trying to keep all of my tasks at no more than 2-3 pomodoros. This way, I really feel like I'm progressing in my work.
To give you a more concrete idea, in all of 2009 and 2010 (up until november), I managed to release 7 versions (patches and updates) of our iGOvirtual portal. Since September, I was also working on our new generation of portal. As of April 15th, I have successfully completed 19 updates of the products!
True, each update contains less than what I was releasing in 2010, but my co-workers and our client are impressed and I am proud of what I have accomplished. I believe the Pomodoro Technique really helped me re-think my way of working: do more small task, more-often, advance faster!
And since last week, we now have a second programmer on our team! It's a co-worker I have been working with for the last 10 years, but he was doing infrastructure and networking. Starting next week, he will be assigned to my team full-time! I have already started teaching him how to use Focus Booster, and it is planned that he will try all of these techniques. He is also a remote worker.
Thanks for your Technique!