I wanted to share a comment I made on a great post I saw today, because it's such a common challenge and the typical approaches are a hard sell:


6 strategies for improvement
6 strategies for improvement

In his post, Olivier outlines 6 common strategies for tackling technical debt, but not how to make space beyond taking on more work or sacrificing work. They all require a team to do more, or do less, which is a real challenge when you're already working as hard as you can.

Of course, the answer is to work smarter.

So I jumped in with my approach:

The tough pill to swallow is that all of these approaches require some kind of sacrifice of 25%, which can be hard to get buy-in for or ask a team to shoulder (especially since they're already drowning).

My first step is to have a team create a value stream map for the workflow they're in right now, and transform waste into improvement time.

In struggling teams, I always find simple fixes that can be implemented with near-zero work that can free up 20-30% of their week. The cost is 2-3 hours (which can be subsidized through strict meeting hygiene for a week or two) and the payoff is sustained every sprint.

Once a team can demonstrate the benefits of the practice it's much easier to get leadership support for an enabling team or other support to grow the impact.

Do you agree? What's your approach?