deadlines, timeboxes, priorities

  • We assign deadlines because we’re worried we won’t get some more distant need serviced in time.
  • We prioritize in a style that’s conceptually too strict and too coarse grained in time, which forces us to make everything “high priority”. When everything is high priority, nothing is.
  • The soft work people often do gluing things together has value and most people know how to prioritize it against other normal tasks, but can’t do so facing deadlines.
  • High Priority Customer is and has been more important than Low Priority Customer, but both are important enough to want to work on.
  • Low Priority has been blocked for months while things that were far from critical were delivered for High Priority.
  • At some point, the product owner decided that there was too little time to continue labeling Low Priority’s task as “Medium” and jumped it to “High” and now wants to cheat by promising your time to both Low and High.
  • Note that even if you’ve been promised some incentive to balance this effort, I’ve only _ever_ seen this promise delivered upon in games, where people crunch for literal years on end.
  • There are other things being worked on that have their own deadlines (otherwise you could move them)
  • Being constantly at capacity, the product owner was hesitant to assign even more deadlines on even more work for an extended period, deciding to just have a high stakes “make or break” at the end.



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art yerkes

art yerkes

An old programmer learning new tricks.