ProductiveDistractions

The workers will be distracted from their work by issues that somebody must deal with

Description

The workers will be distracted from their work by issues that somebody must deal with or productivity will be affected.  Crises or opportunities should be addressed, but addressing them can affect progress adversely.

Discussion

There can be no doubt that some of the distractions that occur should be addressed.  A crisis that is not addressed is liable to become worse.  An opportunity that is not addressed is an opportunity wasted.  Of course, some of the distractions that occur are UnproductiveDistractions that should be sidestepped.  Specific distractions including FeatureCreep may be addressed elsewhere.

Prevention, Amelioration, Cure

Traditional

It makes sense not to impose distractions on the team, or where they are a necessary step toward improvements, to time the distractions carefully.  This approach is exemplified in StableRoles, where any necessary changes to the role structure are minimized and timed to occur when they will cause the least distraction.  In dealing with distractions it is important to keep an eye on the priorities and ensure SomeoneAlwaysmakesProgress.  Where the distractions are small, SacrificeOnePerson.  For larger distractions, assign a team as described in TeamPerTask.  It is normally not a good idea to have a specialized role for dealing with distractions; this can lead to the assignees to the role seeking distractions in otherwise quiet times.

Modern

Modern Agile approaches tend to be very goal-oriented and do not readily get distracted.  Many are adaptive and risk driven and have techniques for dealing with crises, hopefully also with opportunities.  For example, Scrum has daily StandUpMeetings and can use these for rapid change in direction.