Once we understand the nature of the system and can coherently express the intents of the delivery organization, we are in the best possible position to begin experimenting with more humanistic approaches to delivery.
If the organization is using an iterative approach with timeboxed sprints, it can reduce the probability of the problem described above by starting and ending iterations midweek. This can help, but it doesn’t guarantee that panic won’t still set in and lead to weekend work or long nights.
Reducing the batch size of increments of work to the smallest measurement that can deliver value to the customer and business creates more frequent logical breakpoints in the development process, which reduces urgency to complete features. If everything is small, we can deliver any time.
One technical way to achieve this end is to invest in continuous delivery systems. By eliminating timeboxes, we can ease the cognitive load and stress caused by deadlines. Of course, this can be accomplished without continuous delivery, but that’s a topic for another article.
Experimenting with humanistic approaches to optimizing the flow of value is a valuable and worthwhile endeavor. Emotional well-being is essential to the optimal performance of knowledge workers. Investing in systems-thinking approaches to improve the lives of our workers will pay dividends in improved quality, engagement, and creativity.