Shape Up Forum

Is there such a thing as Cycle breaking work?

You’ve started working on your cycle all teams are working towards big and small batch projects that you’ve bet on, and all of a sudden a critical bug arises!

This bug has large potential impacts to the business and needs addressed ASAP.

How do you handle who is going to pick up that work? Does the bug get shaped first? Is there a team specifically assigned to handle these sorts of issues, and does that team exist outside of the shape up model?

If it’s an honest emergency, we’ll just drop everything to do it.

But this is extremely rare. I would ask yourself twice or three times what actually counts as critical.

This is not a problem from a process standpoint if it only happens in genuine emergencies. If this happens more than that, then you have a deeper issue and should look into some kind of rotating schedule or dedicated person to handle reactive work.

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Awesome, thanks Ryan! Follow up, how would you envision that approach scaling to an org with 40-50 devs? Does everyone drop everything? Do we need to draw responsibility boundaries?

Thanks for your patience with the questions :smile:

Of course it’s easier when you have more people to put some on firefighting and others focused on product development. The point is to be intentional about it so people aren’t interrupted with what they’re doing. Avoid mixing reactive and project work together in the same time box.

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