The most common tasks I perform after deploying my webshop to production mode are css updates/changes, product updates/changes, and small admin panel changes (i.e. catalog/cart price rules, page mods through the admin panel).
Of course, the manual states the necessary actions needed after each change, i.e. Reindexing after a catalog change, or content deployment after a css change.
But I've never seen anything stating whether I should be in production mode, or developer mode. Which mode is necessary for which type if task, because changing permissions each time, clearing directories each time, re compiling and re deploying each time are a headache.