Runbooks and RICE 🍙🍛
Nov 12, 2021 9:03 pm
This week's email will be a little bit of a grab bag of stuff, so bear with me.
There was a discussion in an engineering leadership community about something and that lead to someone sharing a runbook from a development agency.
Now, I will share the same with you. Though I want to spend a few words on why I think it's worth sharing. First, they made this public. In other words, this agency recognizes that full transparency in how they work will help them with their clients and work. How many times do the people we serve have no idea what we do or why we do it, and it impeeds useful feedback? Second, while I hardly disagree with some of the choices in it, it is worth noting that they've solved a really important problem.
The problem is moving to know we need to make an exception from the norm, instead of not having any norm at all.
I contributed to a guide like this at another company, and we tried to avoid the prescriptive nature this one I'll share has, but instead tried to treat it like a guide or menu of resources. The idea is that we all need tools to find our way, this guide would do that.
Last, someone took time to put this together, maintain it, and make it public. This is a very intentional act. Someone had to put to paper the methods that people agreed were important, and expose themselves to getting called out by their clients.
Which raises the question for me, what would creating a transparent document like this do for your groups? If there is hesitation to do such a thing, what do you think is causing it?
On to the next thing. In that same document, I went down a rabbit hole of looking at other things they mentioned and bumped into the RICE prioritization technique. Now, I found this immediately attractive as a beginner/intermediate technique. It asks a few basic questions that demand some sort of research or acknowledging that there isn't any, and compresses it down to a single number. Lets skip the part where we say that intellectually any such thing has flaws. Of course it does. The question, for me, is if this technique would improve upon what is already happening.
In my whole career, I can think of one product person I worked with who wouldn't benefit from this. Everyone else at every start-up or Fortune 100 company would grow immensely by using this technique. So check it out!