It is a truth universally acknowledged, that engineering orgs—like
greyhounds, sports cars, and wide receivers—slow down as they age.
Odds are good that you have experienced this phenomenon personally at
some point in your engineering career. The slowdown was gradual,
frustrating, and oddly stubborn. It survived: numerous rounds of
hiring; a spate of offsites where inspiring speakers harangued
everyone to “cut through the crap” and just “get shit done”; a
blood-spattered re-org or two; and even a few ground-up rewrites that
utterly failed to deliver on their promised boost in velocity.
If you’re now involved with engineering leadership in some capacity,
you may well have accepted the slowdown as a sad universal truth.
Accordingly, you may have shifted your efforts from the impossible
task of making the org go faster to the thankless but crucial job of
jealously guarding how engineers spend their time—because as it takes
longer and longer to get even simple features out the door, those
engineering hours become increasingly precious.
If all this sounds familiar, I have good news and bad news for you.
The good news: it isn’t actually a law of nature that engineering orgs
have to slow down as they mature and grow. With active, contravening
investment, it’s possible to maintain and even gain speed.
“But,” you protest, “I’ve made investments, remember? I’ve hired!
I’ve brought in speakers! I’ve re-orged and re-factored and tried out
every flavor of agile there is, and still we go slower and slower!”
Yes, which brings us to the bad news: that slowdown is a far bigger
deal than you might have realized, and way more harmful to the bottom
line of your business than you might imagine. Oh, and that jealous
guarding of engineer hours for features? It’s only making things worse.
In this article I’m going to consider the speed of an engineering org
as an economic question—not a moral question, or a question of
technology choices, or a question of people “hustling” and “powering
through” the obstacles they find in their path. I believe that a good
percentage of engineering and business leaders economically model
their engineering org—consciously or unconsciously—as a “cost
center,” where every engineer hour not spent on features must
translate to (at least) one engineer hour saved, and I believe that
this economic model makes it extremely difficult to identify and
justify the investments that could actually speed that org up. I’ll
propose an alternate economic model of an engineering org—one in
which speed to delivery, rather than number of engineer hours paid, is
the dominant economic factor—and in which considerable, sustained
investment in that speed can reap massive economic returns.
But let’s get a little more concrete with this—let’s look at an
example of the kinds of decisions that face engineering orgs and their
leaders every day, and just how easy it is to slip into the “cost
center” mentality when attempting to juggle them.
A Tale of Two Engineers
Say you’re an engineering manager at Company X, and one morning you
arrive at work to find two of your best engineers waiting outside your
office. You haven’t even opened your door before they start in on you.
“Look,” says Cindy, the first engineer, “I know that the CEO is
breathing down our neck to finish the new Facebook for Cats
integration, but we’ve got to clear some time to work on automating
database migrations. I’m the only one who knows enough to apply them
to the prod DB, and I’m getting tired of spending half an hour every
morning rolling out everyone else’s changes. So can we push a feature
or two back and squeeze that in?”
“Forget the migrations,” says Scott, the second engineer, “we need to
talk about the Frobulator Service. Two years ago we agreed to hack it
up quickly in PHP, but product promised us—PROMISED—that we would
have time to go back and clean it up. Yesterday I happened to be back
in that code while I was updating the copyright years in our headers,
and it’s even worse than I remembered. We need to rewrite it in Scala
so it’s more modern, performant, and easier to maintain. Can you tell
product we’re calling in that promise, please, and I’ll get started?”
First off: everything your engineers have said is true. Cindy really
is spending a half hour every morning dealing with database
migrations; the source for the Frobulator Service really does look
like a plate of partially digested capellini; product really did
promise time to clean that mess up; and of course there really is a
long and growing backlog of features for the upcoming Facebook for
Cats integration, each of them (according to the CEO and product)
absolutely essential and destined to become a customer favorite.
Furthermore, you’ve been around long enough to know that there won’t
be any “calm periods” when there’s time for your engineers to scratch
these other itches—after the Facebook for Cats integration goes out,
you’ll be right on to integrating with Twitter for Dogs, or LinkedIn
for Ferrets. So on this fine morning someone has to make a real and
uncomfortable decision: either tell Cindy and Scott to stop
complaining and get back to feature work, or let product and the CEO
know that you’re going to spend some engineering hours on something
other than features. And today that someone is you.
Pop quiz, hot shot: what do you do?
WHAT DO YOU DO?
A Simple, Responsible, and Totally Wrong Approach
If you’re a mature, business-focused engineering leader, you might
grab some coffee, sit Cindy and Scott down, and tell them something
“Cindy, I’m sorry to hear that you’re getting bored doing so much
production DB work, but realistically it would take you at least 40
hours of work to write, test, and deploy a migration utility, right?
So if you’re spending a half hour a day on migrations, it would be 80
working days before we saw a return on our investment—that’s like 4
months, and that’s just too long for me to sanction—precisely because
you’re such a valuable member of the team, and I can’t spare so much
of your time right now away from our feature backlog. We can touch
base if the migration workload increases too much, OK? Until then, I
have to ask you to put your head down and be a team player.
“Scott, you’re absolutely right, product did promise that we could
spend time cleaning up the Frobulator Service, and I’m sure they were
acting in good faith, but none of us could have possibly known at the
time how our product was going to take off—we’ve got customers
practically beating down our door for new features, and they’re not
going to see any difference whether the Frobulator Service is written
in crappy PHP or transcendent Scala.
“Both of you are great engineers with bright futures, and if those
futures include engineering management, then part of your job will be
to understand that engineering’s job is to produce effects that are
visible to customers. So if we burn hours on projects that aren’t
customer visible—projects that are by engineers, for engineers—we
need to be able to show directly how those hours will pay for
themselves in saved engineering hours in pretty short order.”
This approach feels rational, responsible, and easy to apply, right?
There’s only one small problem: by slipping into the “cost center”
mentality, where engineering hours must only be spent on features or a
greater savings in engineering hours, you’ve actually just slowed your
engineering org down further, and cost your company real (though
largely invisible) money in the process. How did this happen without
our even noticing, while we thought we were being so responsible?
“Engineer Hours” vs. Latency—Where the “Cost Center” Gets it Wrong
The cost center model of engineering, to which our hypothetical
engineering leader has just retreated, is basically this: an
engineering org is a furnace which burns money, in the form of
compensated engineer hours, and produces features. Therefore if org A
can produce the same feature at half the cost of org B, then org A is
twice as good as org B! And if spending 1 engineer hour on some task
today will save you 100 engineer hours in the next few weeks, then you
have just improved your org’s economics by 99 of those expensive
The fundamental and deadly flaw in this model is that it does not
account economically for the speed of work through the engineering
org—or what I’ll refer to from here on out as “latency”—the
wall-clock hours, not paid engineer hours, that it takes the
engineering org to turn some concept into reality. In other words, we
can’t simply think of an engineering org as “an engine that produces
thing X at cost Y.” We have to model it as “an engine that produces
thing X at cost Y with latency Z,” and recognize that “latency Z”
itself can and should be translated into some cost / value structure.
This is not to say that engineering leaders who employ this cost
center model don’t care or think about latency. To the contrary, they
often talk about it quite a bit, exhorting their teams to feel a
“sense of urgency” and to exhibit a “just git ‘er done” attitude—but
they treat latency as a moral or personal question—a matter of
character or work ethic—rather than something that is, at its heart,
organizational and economic.
It’s human nature to experience paid engineer hours as expensive and
latency as annoying, because the costs of latency tend to be
invisible—they usually take the form of lost opportunities or
earnings, many of which, once you miss them, you never even know
existed—rather than real, painful checks that you have to cut each
month for payroll.
Consider an analogue: the rent your business pays on an office
building. If you found a building that was only half the rent, you
might well be tempted to move and count that as a huge savings—but
that’s rarely the whole economic story. Is the new building farther
away from where the bulk of your employees live? Does it lack the
public transit options of the more expensive building? How’s the
light? What’s the layout like? All of these factors can affect the
amount of time your employees spend in the office, the amount and
quality of work they get done there, and even the kind of people who
want to work at your company in the first place—and if the cheaper
building leads to a drop in productivity, or to worse hires, then that
“savings” on rent might turn out to be very expensive indeed to your
business’s bottom line, even though—and here’s the horrific
part—that connection will probably never show up on your company’s
balance sheet. It’s not hard to imagine the employee who found the
cheaper building being rewarded with a fat bonus in the same cycle
that a bunch of other employees are dinged for a stagnant product,
increasing bug count, and flagging sales—even if all those problems
were caused, to some extent, by the change in location.
One method to expose some of these invisible economic effects is to
take them to an absurd extreme. For example, if your business is
currently paying a half million in rent a year for a Boston office,
with a workforce who lives in nearby suburbs, it’s clearly not a smart
economic decision to move to a snow-cave in Juneau, Alaska—even if
it’s wired for Ethernet and your annual rent would drop to $1. We’ve
managed to magnify the invisible costs to a size where they can’t be
So let’s employ the same technique—reduction to some absurd
extreme—in a thought experiment designed to demonstrate how the
latency of your engineering org is almost certainly its dominant
economic factor—much, much larger than the piddling six-figure
salaries you’re paying the engineers it comprises.
The Thought Experiment
Role change: you’re no longer an engineering leader overseeing
Facebook for Cats integration. Now you’re the CEO of a company that
makes its money through big, enterprise contracts. A potential
customer you’ve been after for a while is entertaining bids on a
project, and will consider proposals—which are expected to include a
working proof of concept—in one month.
You aren’t the only company trying to land this contract—there are
lots of smart competitors. And, by the way, you’re not allowed to
deliver early, even if you finish the proof of concept early—all
proposals will be considered on the same day, one month from now.
As CEO you have two engineering teams available to you.
The first team is a group of good, steady developers, who correctly
estimate that the proof of concept will take exactly one month for
them to build (of course they can’t possibly know this, but that’s a
story for another
article and here
we’ll just pretend they can, because we’re in a thought experiment and
we can do whatever we want). Over this month of development, this
team will cost the business $100,000 in salary and other compensation.
The second team, on the other hand, is a group of freelancers who are
amazingly, inhumanly fast: they can produce the same proof of concept,
at the same level of quality, in just one second. Before you get
too excited thinking about all the money you’re going to save with
this team, however, you should know this: for that one second of work,
these freelancers will be invoicing you dearly—to the tune of $100,000.
Recapping your options, you have:
the normal team, which will take a month to produce the proof of
concept for a total cost of $100,000
the insanely fast team, which will take a second to produce the
proof of concept for a total cost of $100,000
The costs of the proof of concept are equivalent with either team, as
is the quality of the product—only the latency differs. Obviously if
you could deliver the proposal as soon as the proof of concept was
done, you’d choose the insanely fast team every time. But that would
be too easy, so in our thought experiment—where you’re not allowed to
deliver the proposal early—does the latency even matter?
There’s only one scenario to consider with the normal team—they have
to start working today, and they’ll finish just in time for the
presentation. Start them even a day late, and they won’t finish.
With the insanely fast team, on the other hand, you have on the order
of 2,592,000 scenarios to consider, as they could start and finish at
any second in the entire month. But are any of these scenarios valuable?
Let’s take a look at a couple of these possibilities.
The Need for Speed
One obvious approach with the insanely fast team would be to produce
the proof of concept immediately, in the very first second. Does that
buy you anything? You can’t deliver the proof of concept early, but
now that it exists, there are a couple things you could do with it.
For example, you could show it around and get a reaction—internally,
if your business has some good proxies for your customer’s needs, or
to one of the customers “on the ground” (not the Big Important People
you’ll be pitching at the end of the month, just regular workers).
Then you can take their feedback and do any of the following:
Iterate: Have the insanely fast team produce a second, improved
version of the proof of concept—you’ll have to pay them another
$100,000, but you’ll have good information about whether that’s
worth it or not. You can repeat this process as many times as you
like or can afford, and go into the demo having iterated through N
versions to your competition’s one.
Abandon: If the feedback you get is “this is crap, and the only ways
to make it good enough are too difficult or expensive to consider,”
then you can abandon the contract and move on to try to sell
something different to a different customer—or something different
to the same customer! Meanwhile, your competition is sweating away
trying to produce their own proofs of concept—squandering precious
time and attention on a contest you already know isn’t worth winning.
Sell to Someone Else: By the rules you can’t deliver your proof of
concept early to the one potential customer, but nothing says you
can’t go out and try to sell it to a different one, or a different
six. By the time proposal day arrives, you’re already a month ahead
of your competition in other markets, and you might even have a nice
story to tell about how your customer’s competition has already
bought your version—and they’d better too, if they don’t want to
So yeah, you could definitely say there’s some value to being able to
finish the proof of concept in a second. That insanely fast team is
starting to look pretty good right about now.
But wait…there’s more!
The Genius of Procrastination
What if you went to the other extreme, and waited as long as you could
to produce the proof of concept, until the last possible
second—literally while you’re walking down the hallway to make your
presentation? Does that give you any interesting advantages?
One possibility that leaps to mind: given that your development is so
expensive, you could do some cheaper exploration before you committed
to a proof of concept. For example, you could send some PMs to shadow
the customers, research companies that had tried similar approaches, etc.
By the time you commit to spending $100,000 on the proof of concept,
you can have much better information about what it should do and what
it shouldn’t. Maybe it turns out to be so difficult that you decide
not to even build. Or maybe, with the insanely fast team at your
back, an offhand remark as the customer is walking you to the
presentation room prompts a quick phone call and a development cycle,
allowing you to produce a last-second revision that totally changes
In essence, by waiting until the last second to produce your proof of
concept, you have the chance to be roughly 29 days, 23 hours, 59
minutes and 59 seconds better informed than your competition (the
actual amount of time will depend on the particular month, whether
it’s a leap year, etc., which is left as an exercise for the reader).
Mix and Match
But the real power of the insanely fast team comes when you mix and
match all the techniques above.
Step 1: Do cheap research until you have an idea of what to build.
Step 2: Build it instantly and loop back to Step 1, until you decide
another iteration isn’t worth $100,000 (either because the proof of
concept is now good enough, or because you’ve decided to scrap the project).
Step 3: Profit!
Finish Early, Start Late
What the insanely fast team gives you, in other words, is the ability
to finish early or start late. In an environment where uncertainty
rules and information is value—like software development—that allows
for tremendously valuable information gain, because what you finish
early tends to generate information, and what you start late tends to
benefit from newly available information. The poor old regular
engineering team, on the other hand, has to start early and finish
late just in order to get the work done by the deadline. Their
labor can neither generate extra information or benefit from it as it
So Which Team Do You Want, Mr. CEO?
By now it should be clear: although the two teams cost the same, and
produce the same quality output, you would be crazy not to choose the
insanely fast team and their drastically reduced latency. In
fact, you’d be crazy not to pay a steep premium, well beyond the
normal team’s salaries, to use the insanely fast team, or even to keep
them inactive but on retainer.
This is so important it’s worth calling out: if you’re any kind of
rational, you would pay a tremendous amount of extra money to use the
insanely fast team, which means that a reduction in latency equals
money. Real, actual money—and usually a lot of it. In our thought
experiment, for example, a smart CEO would gladly pay $1,000,000 to
use the insanely fast team instead of the regular team if it meant a
massively increased chance at a $15,000,000 project. A smart CEO
would see that not as “spending” money—but as investing it—putting
money out into the world in the reasonable expectation of having that
money return, now increased by some multiple.
Once you start thinking of engineering dollars as investment rather
than cost, the fallacies of the “cost center” model become glaringly
obvious. The equation behind your org isn’t “engineer hours paid for
features or saved engineering hours”—it’s “money invested in the
expectation of more money.” Often the money invested is in the form
of paid engineer hours, but sometimes it’s new machines, or better
chairs, or office space for a remote contingent, and so on. And
sometimes the “more money” you expect in return comes from features
for which customers will pay, but often (as in our thought experiment)
it comes in the form of valuable information, or—if you’re doing it
right—a reduction in (or prevention of) latency for future work,
which, as we’ve just shown with our thought experiment, is worth
Sitting Down Again with Cindy and Scott
Let’s rewind back to that coffee with Cindy and Scott, where you as
engineering leader were explaining to them all about how engineer
hours could only be spent on features or efforts that would cut future
engineer hours. With the clearer economic picture in mind, this
argument no longer seems so simple and rational.
Cindy wanted time to work on DB deploy scripts, since she was the only
one who could reliably get changes out to the production DB and was
spending a chunk of her mornings doing so. At the time, what we heard
behind her lament was “I’m getting bored doing the job you’re paying
me to do and I need to be gently cat-herded to keep doing it”—but
what we should have heard was “DANGER, WILL ROBINSON—a queue is
forming in your engineering org.”
Cindy has become a bottleneck for changes making their way to
production, and a queue of people trying to make those changes is
forming behind her. Queues are one of the clearest signals of
developing latency. What happens if Cindy is out for a few days on
(gasp) vacation? No changes will go out. What happens if she becomes
overloaded with other matters, and—without telling you—starts
applying DB migrations only once a week, to “batch things up” and “be
more efficient” with her time? Your latency has just skyrocketed
invisibly—and the fact that this is possible should terrify you as an
engineering leader. Cindy’s complaint is a warning of latency to
come, and you need to nip that in the bud with extreme prejudice. You
should probably allow Cindy to do her migration project—and you
should definitely explain to her why you’re allowing it.
As for Scott, who wanted to rewrite the Frobulator Service from
horrific PHP to stunning Scala because product had promised the time
to clean it up: the “promise” from product is clearly economically
irrelevant, and big rewrites tend to be a terrible
so you probably shouldn’t say yes to Scott’s exact request—but you
still have some digging to do here to figure out whether this (almost
certainly misguided) desire to rewrite is just a blue-sky engineering
itch, or a signal that the Frobulator Service is creating latency.
First of all, Scott was only in that code to “update copyright
years”—he wasn’t making functional changes, and apparently hadn’t
made any in at least a year. Is this a clue that the Frobulator
Service doesn’t see that much coding activity? Worth digging into,
because if engineers aren’t touching the Frobulator Service because
it’s frobulating just fine and there aren’t really any changes to
make, that’s great—the code might read like Cthulhu’s diary, but it’s
not affecting your latency and can be left as is for the moment. If,
on the other hand, there are tons of changes that should go into the
Frobulator Service, but which are finding their way into compensatory
hacks throughout the rest of the codebase instead—because engineers
are terrified to touch the Frobulator Service code—then you’ve got a
brewing latency problem that you need to expose and deal with, because
those hacks are probably already slowing you down, and the situation
is only going to get worse. Almost certainly you still don’t want to
commission a full-on rewrite, but a steady, incremental investment in
testing, monitoring, and refactoring the Frobulator Service might be indicated.
Takeaways from Cindy and Scott
One of the deadliest things about latency is that often the slowdown
of even a single piece of your org can introduce it, while making
things faster generally requires steady work on a lot of fronts.
That’s an imbalance that’s not in your favor. Add to this the
certainty that latency is developing in your organization at every
moment—that is the nature of organizations—and that it is often
invisible to you (or any single individual)—and that, as we saw in
our thought experiment, latency is tremendously expensive—and the
response that’s indicated from you, the engineering leader, is a calm
but constant terror.
Your job is to translate that terror into a form of shared vigilance:
listen carefully to your engineers, dig into the problems they bring
you, and ensure that every one of them understands the cost of latency
and is on the lookout for it, making micro speed-ups everywhere they
see the opportunity and surfacing brewing slowdowns.
In other words, make latency something your whole team seeks, hates,
How to Invest in Latency Reduction
“All right,” you say, “I’m convinced—latency is a bigger deal than I
thought before, and something I can improve—in theory. But how do
I do it in practice? I’ve made all those investments that didn’t help
at all—how do I know that if I invest in something, it will actually
improve my latency?”
Some of this also comes down to how much you invest, but we’ll leave
that until Part II, and here just discuss what you can look to
Here are a few places you can start.
Activities Engineers Bitch About
Engineers tend to experience latency centers as painful or “busywork.”
For example, do your engineers play “Rock Paper Scissors” to determine
who has to spin up a new server? Does the loser go off cursing his
luck and the world? Do your engineers go to absurd lengths to pack
new services onto old machines, even when a new server would be the
natural solution to the problem? Then take a look at what it requires
to spin up a new server, and whether you can make an investment to
make it less painful—you’ll likely effect a drop in latency.
Things Only Cindy Can Do
We saw an example of this with Cindy, who was the only engineer who
knew enough about the prod DB to get migrations out. If only person X
can do thing Y in your organization, you’ve created a bottleneck, and
bottlenecks lead to latency. Cross-train or create tools to terminate
these bottlenecks with extreme prejudice.
Look for Queues
Queues are a manifestation of latency, and once you can see them, you
can attack them. Find them where they’re visible—ticketing systems
and so on—and try to make them visible where they’re not, using
techniques like a Kanban board.
Good automated tests reduce latency, because they help you make
changes more quickly and confidently.
Good monitors reduce latency, because they allow you to release more
frequently, confident in the knowledge that, if something goes wrong,
you’ll find out immediately.
A good post
is a great opportunity to let reality point you towards improvements
that not only make your systems safer, but reduce your latency as
well. Do them!
Decentralization with Safety Nets / Impact Reduction Schemes
Organizations often insist that high-impact changes to products or
systems pass through multiple steps of centralized review for
correctness, which can become a source of dramatic latency—sometimes
on the order of weeks or months. Usually these controls exist for a
reason, because the mistakes they attempt to prevent are expensive.
You can attack such a situation in two ways: either by making it
harder to break things in the first place (often more difficult and
expensive), or by changing the game so that breaking things isn’t as
big a deal (often cheaper and easier). For example, if engineers can
deploy potentially high-impact changes at will to a small percentage
of traffic, or to a known beta-tolerant population, or to internal
users, then the downside of breaking changes is capped, and is often
eminently worth the decreased latency you enjoy.
And Many, Many More
We’ve only scratched the surface here: tools for operators,
intelligent development tools, even crazy things like DSLs for demo or
test data creation can all reduce your latency. Once you start
looking specifically for projects that reduce latency, you will see
How Not to Invest in Latency Reduction: REWRITE ALL THE THINGS
The “rewrite reflex” exhibited by Scott is, unfortunately, a real and
dangerous tendency that almost all engineers have to some extent (I
myself struggle with it daily): the fanatical belief that, if a system
were rewritten to framework X or language Y, development would proceed
much more quickly. Generally this doesn’t pan out, both because of
the astounding (and routinely underestimated) cost of the rewrite, but
also because the causes of latency introduced in real-world
engineering are rarely addressed more directly by languages and
frameworks than by operational and organizational changes. The
latency caused by having to write three ugly lines in one language
rather than one pretty line in another tends to pale in comparison
with delays in deploys, finding and fixing bugs that tests could have
caught, etc. (note: I’m not arguing that there is no difference in
language productivity, and no point to choosing a language for a new
venture carefully, just that for a working system the gain is usually
dwarfed by the rewrite cost and other, lower hanging fruit).
Maybe it’s a “one ring to rule them all” deployment system, or a
templating system to speed up writing your views, or a monitoring
framework to end all monitoring frameworks—whatever it is, if you
think it will reduce latency, and it’s a big project, you should
probably try breaking it into smaller increments, each of which
reduces some latency, and release those independently, as each is ready.
Most engineers will hate to hear this. They’ve already “seen” the
full system in their head, and now want to bang it out in a couple
caffeine-fueled weeks. Typically if you object and request smaller
increments, they will point out that, broken up into discrete
releases, the job will require more hours overall, and therefore
represent an inefficiency. They’re generally right, of course, that
you will spend more engineer hours by delivering in
increments—they’re just wrong about the economic consequences.
You should insist on smaller, incremental latency improvements, not
just because of all the normal, eminently true reasons that big
increments are bad (everything that makes waterfall a bad idea applies
here too), but because latency reduction improves the same channels
by which you deliver future latency reduction. That is, since
latency reduction efforts generally come in the form of new software
or processes, and what they’re reducing is the latency of delivering
new software or processes, finished latency reduction efforts tend to
speed up future latency reduction efforts.
Latency reduction is therefore a form of compound interest, which
Einstein himself called “the most powerful force in the universe.”
Latency reduction works just like your retirement account—steady,
incremental investments generate more value than infrequent, bigger
investments, because you earn interest on your interest—so you want
the money in the account as soon as it becomes available. When you
break a big, massively valuable latency reducing project into numerous
smaller (but still latency reducing) projects, some of which can be
delivered earlier, the one-time multiple you pay on extra engineering
hours is nearly always a rounding error compared to the benefit of
compounded latency reduction you enjoy forever.
So Much for the Easy Part
All right, we’ve skirted the hard part long enough. At this point we
understand some of the costs of latency. We’ve sounded out whether
projects like those that Cindy and Scott want to undertake will
actually reduce latency, talked about some other projects that are
good candidates for reducing latency, and understand how to generate
the maximum overall value by attacking them in valuable increments.
But there’s still the small matter of that endless stream of
features—how do we compare the relative value of a feature and a
project to reduce latency for the delivery of future features, and
prioritize appropriately? How do we know how much time to spend on
latency reduction vs. features? And—more difficult still—how do we
convince the CEO and other Important People in the business, who are
the ones asking for those features and signing our checks, that they
should allow us to carve out that time to work on latency reduction?
Tune in as we tackle that in the upcoming Part II: Selling the Big Boss.