The One with One Less Dev to Pester

We’re one dev down for May and June. Panic! Actually, we’re not panicking so far. 2 12 weeks in and it seems to be working out like we had planned. One of my senior team mates had told us earlier this year that he was going to be a father in May and would take the first 2 months as paternal leave. Which is cool. He’ll do more later and I think it’s awesome that more and more dads get the opportunity to spend more time with their kids.

The other senior dev in my team and I had a short talk about this and decided we’d manage the 2 months without him. It’s just 2 months. Sometimes people go on holiday for a month and when they come back, the next person is gone for a month. That’s not that extraordinary, right? And what are the alternatives? Find someone from another team to help us out? For 2 months? Each of our teams has a different setup and workflow. You won’t get a lot of benefits from someone coming in for just 2 months. And if the Sascha gets sick, I’ll manage on my own. Yes, that would mean a drastic decline in story points, but I know that there are some people I could go to for help if something happened. But let’s just hope he stays fine.

So we planned our first half sprint without him with less story points. And we did not finish. Which was mostly due to a very nasty ticket that needed lots of refactoring that turned out to be much bigger than anticipated. Things that happen. Would have happend with our 3rd dev as well. Yes, he would have been able to help more than I did and he would have been able to do more of the other stuff than I managed to finish, but we would have planned differently and thus would still not have been able to finish the sprint.

The things that I did went great. Awesome, actually. We took some more time than usual during both planning meetings we’ve had so far to make sure we had really looked at what would need to be done in detail so I felt like I could comfortably start working on a ticket on my own. Of course I didn’t do everything on my own, but I felt like I only called my team mate for help with things that were a bit tricky or where I was genuinely puzzled about what would be the best method for going forward and we then actually thought about this together.

The only weird thing was what was happening on the outside. Suddenly, people outside talked of deadlines that we are involved in (not as the main party, but still), without talking to us at all. And at the same time, people just now realised that we will be one dev less for 2 months and are asking our PO and our Scrum Master if we need help. To which they replied “Uh no, the team would have asked for help if they felt like they needed it”. Everything seems to be happening because people talk to people about other people. Which is so annyoing when it’s happening in the office, but even more so now, in a time where we all feel a bit disconnected anyways. And no one has been talking to us two remaining backend devs so far. How odd, right?

I hope this dies down soon. Because I actually feel really good right now. I feel like I can handle a lot more than even a few weeks ago. And I learn a lot just because I feel like I should offer my help in all situations where I would normally say “I have no idea what’s going on, I probably can’t help, they know what they are doing”. Don’t get me wrong. I miss the new father. He is awesome and I look forward to him coming back soon. But it’s working and that’s cool.

Oh and another cool thing will be happening this week: One of the guys from my old team will spend a few days with us to see how we work as a team, as part of our dev exchange thingy. Totally unrelated to the fact that we’re one less person right now. We had actually planned to do this sooner and explicitly wanted to do this before the paternal leave, but Covid happened and things went a bit crazy for a while. But I’m so excited about this. Only good things come out of people doing more together across team boundaries and I personally am so happy I get to work with him again for a few days. Eek. Will report back. If I don’t forget about this blog for a month, again.