Drop everything and work on this one thing!
In a timely coincidence this tweet came up on my timeline just when it basically happened three times to me in one week from different projects I was working on:
As a tech lead or eng manager, you so frequently get request from above or from other teams to drop what you are doing and work on this thing they need, now.
This happens all the time and it is frustrating as I do often identify with the next part of the tweet:
During my 4 years at Uber after asking these questions, 9 out of 10 times it turned out it wasn't really urgent.
Often, there will be one or two things which indeed are urgent, bundled together with many less urgent things (cf. 'gold plating' and 'scope creep' ), which could be updated or fixed later or are simply unnecessary for the projects goals.
After some research about how I could avoid these issues in the future, the two main pieces of advice seem to be:
- More clearly define goals, keep them visible - document requirements.
- Introduce a process to change requirements (e.g. change requests)
I also like the idea to:
- Define constraints and non-goals (including time, and honest admissions of scope for polishing within a given timeframe)
Which seems to be more about managing expectations up front. This will be something I plan on thinking about a lot about more when new projects come around.