Rodney Barlow, a seasoned Architect at Shopzilla, has introduced the concept of a Fire Chief – an Agile role designed to protect a team’s yield while still responding to production issues. In his article, Shopzilla’s Fire Chief – Running Cover for your Team, Rod tells us:
- Teams can have their cake and eat it too: Responding to problems without killing yield
- Removing the “Fire Chief” from a team’s capacity can increase velocity and improve quality
- A culture of passion and ownership can make an otherwise tough role coveted and fun
- Practical steps for creating an effective Fire Chief on your team
Why does any of this matter? Rod writes:
With few exceptions, it generally doesn’t take an entire team to fight a fire. The “all hands on deck” approach to production issues is often born from a misguided – albeit well-intentioned – desire to resolve an issue quickly in order to get back to work on the “new stuff”. Best case, this approach may optimize a single engineer’s time-to-resolution at the cost of lowering the overall yield of the team. Worst case, “drop everything” is a trained response designed as much to create the appearance of motion as any real progress.
While the first step may be acknowledging the need for a strategy, the real “magic” in making your strategy work comes from teams’ ownership of the need.
Read more about Shopzilla’s approach to creating business value through technology on Shopzilla’s Tech Blog.