Shape Up Forum

What practices are you doing to protect your team from outside interruption/distractions?

Hey Shapers!

What do you do to make sure your team is focused on building and other people from your organization don’t interrupt them?

Is this something you are having problems?

This came to me when reading @nt-from-chicago here in this post about struggles and learnings.

Here is what we do in my organization:

We are a team of 9 people, only 5 of them are assigned each cycle to a strategic bet. only 2 of us are shapers, and we make a reserve of 2 (slack) for reactive tasks, like bugs, or some rare event that needs to be solved immediately.
This slack is important if you optimize so everyone is doing something, you don’t have available capacity for unexpected things.

Centralized forum
None in the org (outside of the product team) is allowed to write directly to a developer through chat.
Bugs, or questions are encouraged to be posted asynchronously in a forum (We use Notion like a forum, with some templates that automatically tag the shapers).
We triage the question/bug and if by urgency and delegate to one of the reactive teams or if someone else can answer that in their own time.

Office Hours
We haven’t implemented in full but we tested something like “Office hours” similar to what college professors or teacher assistants have. For example: you schedule 30m/1h sync every Tuesday/Thursday at 4pm and it’s a “Ask me anything”.
We didn’t like that was a “scheduled ritual” but it something that’s good for batching a lot of question in an hour instead of someone asking and interrupting.

Have you tried any of these? What do you think about them ? Do you have other practices?


1 Like

Very similar here.

We have a on-call team which we call the beach team (a bit of a play on the concept of being on the bench in a sporting match) there if needed. The work here is varied from bug fixing, questions, technical support that needs to be done by someone with development experience - essentially reactive tasks like you say.

We don’t quite have a centralised forum, but our beach team is supported by our customer support function that also offer a support desk for the internal company bugs and questions are picked up here first through the helpdesk software we use by a customer support agent they’ll then try to solve or triage with our on-call/beach team.

Those two combined help avoid most of the noise that could interrupt someone.

We’ve not tried office hours, though I’ve debated trying it for myself in the past.