Stress Driven Development

Small teams that are creating something new have no shortage of problems. Among those is the question: What should be worked on right now?

I ask myself this question a lot while working at CaseFleet. One of the benefits of being on a (very) small team is autonomy. Autonomy, unfortunately, comes with the stress of responsibility. I get to choose what I work on because I’m also the person who is responsible for a large part of the company. That means support requests, maintenance, bug fixes, and many other tasks are also my responsibility.

So what gets done? How do I create any sense of priority from the endless stream of demands?

The answer to that question is: “I just know.” By necessity, the responsibility I carry comes with a large knowledge of CaseFleet’s product. I know where the product is missing a feature, poorly designed, or what parts of the infrastructure requires upgrades.

I can scroll through Clubhouse and feel the stress associated with each incomplete task. The one that creates the strongest response is the one I work on. Typically I don’t need to reference the list of outstanding tasks at all. I know for a fact which task is most important.

As a result of this process, the overall feeling of stress within the project should decrease over time. Eventually it will settle into an equilibrium where the amount of stress added by new projects is offset by the completion of others.

So, that begs the question: what is the task you know needs to be completed?