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Fartlek - Increasing your Sustainable Pace

Posted by emeade on December 5, 2004 at 9:50 AM PST

Those I have coached know when it comes to development I thump the TDD bible, but when it comes to business I preach Sustainable Pace.

Business always seems to be interested in increasing the pace and it isn't that hard (to describe). Fartleks a.k.a. "speed-play" is the answer. When fartleking you increase from your long slow pace to a short (the end is in sight) burst of speed, once you recover, you can burst again.

Typically business misses two things in this process, starting from a sustainable pace and recovering. So they take teams, which are already working at an unsustainable pace, and slowly, continually turn up the pressure.

Every day it seems we read about what should be obvious;
sleep deprivation is bad,
working when sick is bad for you,
too much stress can make one forgetful,
chronic stress ages you, and maybe
overuse of computers may increase your chances at glaucoma. Are these the signs of sustainable pace?

Another story from Sabre's Product Groups transitioning to Extreme Programming was about sustainable pace. After the death of a family member, a programmer told me that what they where most thankful about XP was the extra time they had spent with their family, a point that would soon be made poignantly clear to me, with the unexpected death of my mother.

Does your company practice sustainable pace?

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