Balancing Competing Interests in Software Projects


The typical software shop is both overcommitted and poorly coordinated. These conditions form a vicious cycle: a lack of effective communication leads to inefficient work, which in turn leads to a permanent state of being too busy to communicate with one another.

The traditional remedy to this problem is something along the lines of “do less stuff, better.” When it can be pulled off, it is super effective! But in most places, the idea of waving a magic “do less” wand tends to be rejected out of hand, or at least kicked down the road to be considered in quieter times that never come.

If you find yourself in a situation where your team can’t immediately solve its overcommitment problems, that’s a sign that it’s time to focus on improving coordination. Recognizing that busy people generally don’t have the time or patience for revolutionary transformations, your goal is to look for small adjustments here and there that when taken in aggregate lead to a massive reduction in friction.

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