Taking Back Time

(How every member of a top SaaS engineering team rescued a full hour of precious dev time each week, without sacrificing clarity or alignment.)

It’s common for engineering teams to sync regularly to assign issues, address blockers, and plan for the days ahead. While this process is crucial to a team’s alignment and effectiveness, the amount of time it takes can add up quickly. 

One or two short meetings a week might not seem costly at first glance; however, the actual time spent meeting is only a fraction of the productivity drain.

Getting back on task after breaking away can often take longer than the distraction itself.

The cost of in-person meetings is even greater. When each member of a team is required to stop what they’re doing, assemble, meet, get back to their desk, then finally get back into the flow of their work, the productivity loss can quickly multiply.

Like many others, this team gathered together for a minimum of thirty minutes, twice each week to sync up and assign issues. Every meeting started with a long, uncomfortable pause as everyone on the team waited to have issues assigned to them — an exercise that proved to be an ongoing stress on everyone’s limited time. Worst of all, these meetings were often demotivating because participants didn’t get a say in which issues they were assigned. 

The team needed a new, more engaging way to assign issues that required less time and less task switching.

Instead of gathering together twice a week and having issues assigned, a simple survey went out directly in Slack, and individual team members were able to assign issues to themselves without leaving the context of their work. As it was first-come-first-serve, members of the team actually anticipated the survey with excitement. 

With one small change in their weekly activities, the team was able to spend less time in meetings, increase engagement through active participation in the assignment process, and spend more time doing their most important work.


Are you also interested in spending less time in meetings, and more time pushing quality code?

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