The way programmers are portrayed in pop culture, you would think that they’re all cubicle-dwelling nerds with no social graces, like Dilbert and Wally in Dilbert or Roy and Moss on The IT Crowd. According to the stereotype, the only time these geeks do talk to each other, it’s to debate the merits of Kirk versus Picard.
The truth, though, is that many programmers spend large fractions of their day away from their desks, talking to each other. In this chapter, we look at several studies of how programmers spend their time at work and see that communication is a huge part of the job. These conversations aren’t idle distractions around the water cooler: they help programmers stay aware of project status, coordinate activities, and spread knowledge around the team. Instead of seeing these conversations as disruptive hiccups in the machinery of a development team, we should see them as the lubricant that keeps the machinery running smoothly.