Don’t Go Dark

I am continually reminded of a very important rule by Jim McCarthy in his book “Dynamics of Software Development.”

This rule is “Don’t Go Dark.”

It recognizes that it is human nature to dig in, buckle down, and go it alone.

However, it also recognizes that teams and projects can not be successful when individuals retreat from the project cadence for an extended period of time.

Issues that take an unexpectedly long period of time to resolve become team and product management issues. Many times the solution is not to continue on the current path, but rather to re-frame and re-focus efforts in a different direction. This change of direction is a product management concern that requires input from the entire team.

Agile development methodologies, such as SCRUM, are good at catching and resolving the issue of team members going dark. However, you need to be more than just going through the motions. You need to be committed to the team, to the product, and to the team’s product cadence. My recommendation is not to allow anyone to be “stuck” on an issue for more than two daily standup meetings.

Getting a colleague involved requires you to come back out of the weeds and take a new perspective. This is usually enough to allow you to solve the issue on your own.