How do I keep my devs busy while waiting on code review?
February 28, 2022Don't worry about devs not having enough work. Worry on flow through the system.
I was recently involved in a discussion with a Scrum master who asked this question.
“Last sprint, most of our stories were stuck in queue, waiting for seniors on another team to review them. How can I keep my devs busy while they’re waiting?”
This type of question is extremely common in my experience. Whatever’s causing a delay, we look for ways to stay busy while waiting for delayed items.
Unfortunately, this is the wrong approach.
This is what I told this distressed Scrum master:
Don’t worry about the devs not having enough work.
If every dev is always busy, you’ll have a traffic jam. A highway at full capacity is called a parking lot.
Instead, worry on the smooth flow of work through the system.
If you solve the flow problems, all the devs will have enough work to do anyway. If you focus on giving them work, though, you’ll end up with even more work stuck in queue,causing more blockage, and even more problems than you’re facing right now.
How unplanned work affects flow vs batches
How does your team respond to unplanned work? Does it lead to crunch time?
Pick a methodology: Scrum, Kanban, XP, Lean or DevOps?
None of these items directly replaces or conflicts with any of the others. In fact, you can use them all simultaneously.
How would you improve velocity on a team you're working with?
The first thing I would do is stop measuring velocity.