Why are you so busy?

#105 – September 05, 2022


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"I'm just too busy. I barely have time to breathe, let alone lead the threat modelling exercise with my team". This was something that one of my peers said to me at the end of a long day after I asked him how he was doing.

When Uber Engineering reached 800 engineers, engineering was divided across roughly five engineering directors. Most engineering and process issues were resolved locally within these five organizations. This worked well for the most part, but meant there was little consistency within our core processes.

One of the main risks that a growing software engineering team faces is a decrease in the team’s productivity. The decrease comes from several factors, from an increased need to communicate across many communication paths, to additional processes to be followed to minimise the risk for the business and its customers.

How sustainable is your pace as a developer? This has always been a huge struggle for us and most of the teams we’ve been part of. We’ve often found ourselves working late into the night, or during weekends.

What does it mean to be productive? At the beginning of the pandemic, when many workers went remote, some managers were tempted to start counting things — whether hours, objects, or other things.


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