Busy teams get nothing done

Crowded roadmaps, huge backlogs, sprints stuffed to the gills.

Being busy is the norm in software development. With all the talk about sustainable pace, the average team is still racing against the clock.

The reason for this is not because there is just so much work. We’re not up against a force of nature. It’s because coming up with ideas is faster than executing them. It’s because our eyes are bigger than our stomachs.

Software development is not a game of dragging tickets to the right — it’s problem-solving. And to solve a problem well, we need time and focus. Without those, we’ll deliver untested, undocumented, poorly designed products—busy work always results in half-assed solutions.

If there is one counterintuitive thing I’ve learned over the years, it’s this: Busy teams get nothing done.

The opposite of busy isn’t idle; it’s focused. Leaders must make sure their teams are not busy. That’s not a lack of ambition.

That’s getting things done.