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Engineering Manager at Walmart
Addressing unplanned activities, in addition to ensuring completion of committed deliverables used to be a major challenge that we faced regularly.
"I allocated one person every sprint cycle for unplanned activities."
Over a period of time, I was able to collect data on the quantum of unplanned activities the team was working on and we were able to slowly build a small team based on that, to address these unplanned/adhoc tasks. We formed this team initially from the regular teams that were already in place and formed a sort of a 'call of duty' service. You come, you serve for a sprint, and then you go back to the team. In case there are no unplanned work to address during this call of duty, they would work on stories put in the backburner, on additional tooling, prototypes etc.
- Allocating a dedicated engineer every sprint cycle for unplanned activities reduces the context switching for the rest of the team.
- Having a developer dedicatedly working on unplanned/customer issues help them to have a critical analysis of the applications.
- Collecting data on the unplanned activities helps quantify the otherwise non-measured work and can help in taking corrective actions - like building self-service tools, having a dedicated small team work on the same, identifying areas within the system that need to be relooked at etc.
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