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edmund_the_destroyer wrote

I agree with some of the points of the article, but not all of it.

In my experience, you need some kind of general task-tracking system. It can't be too formal, because it buries everyone in paperwork and bureaucracy and sucks. But neither can it be absent, because you run into two problems.

  1. Some people simply won't do anything at all. That's fine in an open source or volunteer project. And slow progress because of unexpected problems and so forth is fine too. I don't ask my teammates or manager or anyone else to write down everything they do. A ticket update, "Spent two days on getting user lockouts for bad passwords to work" is fine. But some people go weeks without doing anything, period.

  2. For cross-team work, sometimes I have to ask other people to do things. Usually it's the sysadmins. They don't use a task-tracking system of any kind, they refuse to do so, and it's maddening. Is my request third in the queue? 15th? 92nd? I don't know, they won't tell me. I just have to wait until someone emails me with a note that it's done. The rest of the engineering group has done all sorts of wacky nonsense to code around problems - network tunnels, file permissions, backup processes, server configuration changes - that could be solved with five minutes of sysadmin effort. Because you can submit a request for a new VM in one subnet and get it the same afternoon, and then there are other VM requests that took two years - not kidding - to get filled even though we repeated the request every month.