Friday, July 11, 2008

How to handle interruptions...

There is a great discussion about how to handle interruptions on InfoQ. In many environments, teams have to not only build a product, but also support that product's existing customer base. Fires arise all the time that diminish productivity and velocity for the team. How can this be handled?

Suggestions included:
  • separate backlogs
  • emergencies (work stops)
  • manage support like features
  • sacrifice someone
Having seen Alistair's presentation at Agile 2007, this was one of the points I wanted to add to in the discussion. The "sacrifice one" idea is described properly in the post as: "assign one person dedicatedly to take care of that interruption. Though, this one person would feel sacrificed, rest of the team can make progress by working on the primary task."

My thoughts:
"As for Alistair's idea to sacrifice one team member, I do believe he supports that this is a rotating role (per iteration or sub-time window)... and that it is important to assign your most important person first to make it clear that it is an important role and is not dumped on the newer/weaker people in the team. Otherwise, it can become something that breaks the team dynamics into a group of superstars (those that create) and pledges (those that support)."

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