Put the Yak on the Stack

In a prior post, I introduced the concept of Yak Shaving.  In this brief post, I want to introduce a strategy for preventing Yak Shaving.

The developers on this team have become sensitized to yak shaving, and often report that they ran into a yak on the way to done.  They have to make a decision whether to shave the yak now or to ignore it.

By the way, most of our yak’s are tech debt in the form of code tangles – left behind by a herd of contract developers who meant well, but were being forced through a schedule driven effort to get stuff out the door.

The concept is this, rather than shave the yak on the way to done, decide on the way back from working.  So I capture the yak, put it on the stack (tie it to the roof of my SUV) and keep rolling down the path to working feature.  Then on the way back from working, I can decide which of the yaks I can safely shave and still stay on schedule.

Of course, sometimes there is the proverbial herd of yak’s blocking the road to working.  In that case, I have to find a different strategy.  More on that later.


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