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EMBRACING CHAOS

EMBRACING CHAOS

This talk was given at @queens_js and is an overview of a process I developed to handle ad-hoc requests that get routed to engineering teams.

D7f0df31a2e02ffbb0e6a77b8099035c?s=128

Juan Pablo Buriticá

June 08, 2017
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Transcript

  1. Juan Pablo Buriticá VP of Engineering - splice.com @buritica BUILDING

    EFFICIENT TEAMS THROUGH ENGINEERING SUPPORT EMBRACING CHAOS
  2. STORY TIME

  3. BEFORE I WAS AN ENGINEERING MANAGER I WAS AN ENGINEER

    "
  4. THIS MEANT I TRIED TO EMBRACE WHAT SOME PEOPLE CALLED

    "TRUE AGILE" OR SCRUM (I know I'm butchering these terms, sry not sry)
  5. I DREAMED IN POINTS

  6. THOUGHT IN ITERATIONS ⌛

  7. LIVED SPRINT BY SPRINT

  8. PLANNED ALL THE THINGS!! ✅

  9. TALKED TO STAKEHOLDERS

  10. I SCRUMMED THE SCRUMS

  11. EVERY ONCE IN A WHILE...

  12. A HOVERING SUIT WOULD APPROACH

  13. XXXX NEEDS THIS FIXED ASAP

  14. UH, OH... WE MUST...

  15. .....

  16. ...BREAK THE SPRINT

  17. OHHHH, THE VELOCITY!

  18. I WONDERED WHY EVEN AFTER ALLOCATING FLEXIBLE POINTS TO PREVENT

    THIS, EMERGENCIES KEPT KILLING OUR SPRINTS
  19. "WHEN I AM THE BOSS, I WILL NEVER LET THIS

    HAPPEN AGAIN"
  20. AND THEN IT HAPPENED...

  21. ...JUAN BOSS

  22. None
  23. IN ORDER TO FIX THIS I DECIDED TO EMBRACE CHAOS

  24. PRODUCTS IN EARLY STARTUPS ARE EXPECTED TO CHANGE CONSTANTLY

  25. SHORT PLANNED ITERATIONS ARE GREAT FOR CONSTANTLY SHIPPING NEW FEATURES

    & ENHANCEMENTS
  26. BUT THEY DON'T SERVE WELL NEEDS LIKE EMERGENCIES OR KEEPING

    THE LIGHTS ON
  27. I BROKE DOWN ENG INTO DIFFERENT TYPES OF WORK AND

    TRIED TO ORGANIZE AROUND IT
  28. THE 3 MAIN TYPES OF WORK I PREFER TO GROUP

    ARE:
  29. FEATURES PRODUCT/BIZ FOLKS TEND TO OVER PRIORITIZE

  30. - ARE PLANNED - WHAT TO WORK ON: OWNED BY

    PRODUCT MGT - WHEN TO SHIP: ROADMAP DRIVEN - HOW IT'S BUILT: SHARED BY ENG & DESIGN - GENERALLY NEW FEATURES OR ENHANCEMENTS GO HERE FEATURES:
  31. MAINTENANCE ENG TENDS TO OVER PRIORITIZE BIZ TENDS TO UNDER

    PRIORITIZE PRODUCT SOMETIMES ONE OR THE OTHER
  32. - IS CONSTANT - NOT GENERALLY ROADMAP DRIVEN - WHAT

    TO WORK ON: OWNED BY ENG - WHEN TO SHIP: OWNED BY ENG - HOW IT'S BUILT: OWNED BY ENG - IT'S LIKE KEEPING YOUR KITCHEN EQUIPMENT CLEAN - REFACTORING, DEPENDENCY OR SYSTEM UPDATES, UPGRADES, ETC MAINTENANCE:
  33. EVERYTHING ELSE EXEC/BIZ/PRODUCT/CUSTOMER SERVICE/NEED IT TO OPERATE BUT ARE NOT

    GENERALLY AWARE OF THE RIPPLES ENG UNDERSTANDS URGENCY, BUT TENDS TO NOT COMMUNICATE BROADER IMPACT ON EXISTING PROJECTS
  34. a.k.a. ENGINEERING SUPPORT -

  35. NOT TO BE CONFUSED WITH PRODUCT OR CUSTOMER SUPPORT WHICH

    HEAVILY RELY ON ENG SUPPORT, BUT BELONG TO OTHER DEPTS
  36. - ADHOC & UNPREDICTABLE - NOT ROADMAP DRIVEN - WHAT

    TO WORK ON: OWNED BY REQUESTER - WHEN TO SHIP: ASAP ASAP ASAP ASAP - HOW IT'S BUILT: OWNED BY ENG AND/OR REQUESTER - KNOWN AS FIREFIGHTING - GENERALLY A COLLEAGUE IS ASKING FOR ENG HELP OR A CUSTOMER VIA CUSTOMER SUPPORT ENGINEERING SUPPORT:
  37. - BUG NEEDS FIXING - BUG IS BLOCKING USER OR

    USER NEEDS HELP - MARKETING NEEDS A MICROSITE FOR TOMORROW - EXECS NEED DATA FOR URGENT BOARD DECK - PRODUCT MGR NEEDS ANALYTICS DEBUGGING RIGHT NOW EXAMPLES:
  38. MY TARGET ALLOCATION

  39. 60% OR MORE DEDICATED TO FEATURES FEATURES DRIVE BUSINESS
 20%

    OR LESS DEDICATED TO SUPPORT NECESSARY FOR OPERATIONS, BUT TOO MUCH TIME USED MAY SIGNIFY ISSUE WITH SOFTWARE QUALITY, PRODUCT DESIGN OR PROCESS IMPLEMENTATION
 20% CONSTANT FOR MAINTENANCE KEEP THE LIGHTS ON AND HOLDS PREVENTATIVE MEASURES
  40. MY PROCESS FOR ENG SUPPORT

  41. EVERY SINGLE AD-HOC REQUEST IN THE COMPANY STARTS IN A

    TICKET SYSTEM
  42. NOT VIA EMAIL

  43. MUCH LESS VIA SLACK

  44. IF WE DON'T HAVE A TICKET WE'RE NOT SOLVING

  45. THIS APPLIES FOR CEO AND BELOW

  46. PURPOSE: TO CENTRALIZE VISIBILITY OF WORK LOAD, ELIMINATE SIDE REQUESTS

    AND QUANTIFY SIDE EFFECTS OF AD-HOC WORK
  47. WE HAVE SOME TEMPLATES (PROCESS WILL BE OPTIMIZED DOWN THE

    LINE, RIGHT NOW IT WORKS)
  48. CHORE

  49. **Brief Summary** **What do you need done?**: _briefly describe the

    task needed_ **Why is this important?**: _this helps us prioritize_ **Can you achieve this without engineering**: yes / no **Is this blocking you?**: yes / no **Is there a due date**: yes (set it on the ticket) / no **Additional details for request below** - _label request properly, remove template tag, remove this line_
  50. BUG

  51. **Brief Summary** As a `___ ` I did `___` and

    expected `___` but experienced `___`. **Steps to reproduce**: (_if available_) 1. 2. 3. **Logged in as**: `username` or `logged-out` **Client Details** - OS version - Browser Version: `delete if not applicable` **Zendesk Link**: `delete if not applicable` **Mixpanel Link**: `delete if not applicable` - _attach any files and remove this line_ - _label issue properly, remove template tag, remove this line_
  52. PRODUCT MGR || LEADER PRIORITIZE

  53. PRIORITIES RESET DAILY OR HOURLY IF SOMETHING CRITICAL SHOWS UP

  54. ROTATION OF ENGINEERS TACKLE TOP TO BOTTOM

  55. THIS IS THE 1ST LINE OF DEFENSE 3

  56. IF EXPERTISE IS NEEDED, OTHER ENGS GET INVOLVED TO PAIR,

    DEBUG OR GUIDE RESOLUTION 3 + 4
  57. BENEFITS I'VE FOUND

  58. WHOLE ORGANIZATION GETS THEIR NEEDS TAKEN CARE OF IN CONTEXT

    OF GLOBAL PRIORITY
  59. WE SHARE KNOWLEDGE ACROSS ALL ENGINEERING

  60. EVERYONE* "TAKES ONE FOR THE TEAM"

  61. GREAT PLACE FOR ON-BOARDING ENGINEERS

  62. ENG SUPPORT PROTECTS OTHER 2 WORK STREAMS <3

  63. AND WE DON'T "BREAK THE SPRINT"

  64. DISCLAIMER & CONTEXT: I'VE BEEN V HAPPY WITH THE RESULTS

    OF THIS PROCESS IN VARIOUS PRODUCT ENGINEERING TEAMS RANGING ON 3 - 40 MEMBERS (MINE & AS ADVISOR/CONSULTANT IN ~6/yrs). AS ORGS GROW PAST THIS, I THINK DEDICATED SUPPORT SEAMS TO BE A REASONABLE EXPECTATION TO SUPPLEMENT ROTATION. WILL UPDATE WITH ANY FINDINGS IN THE FUTURE
  65. THANKS Juan Pablo Buriticá VP of Engineering - splice.com @buritica