Don’t do irrelevant busywork in the name of agility

December 4, 2022

Some time ago, I had a conversation with an EM who shared with me their approach to continuous learning. He described their practice where, following each sprint, engineers are given a week of freedom to pursue projects of their choice. That idea stuck with me and I’ve been thinking about it.

Engineering bandwidth that is not fully occupied at all times is not a bad thing. Teams should take the time to pay off tech debt, have the ability to learn, improving the delivery process, write documentation, minimize waste and optimize for joy. Unfortunately this is often perceived as wasteful as it’s of very little value to the business. Teams will then put in irrelevant busywork in the name of agility. Don’t be that team.

TLDR: unoccupied time of engineers should not be filled with meaningless busywork in the name of agility. Improve or innovate.