Team Practices Group/Measuring Types of Work
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This pilot has ended, and Team Practices has no concrete plans to continue work in this area. Upper management is not currently asking for these classifications, although there are continuing discussions about categorizing work. The latest categories are "Strategic" (in service of a WMF strategy) and "Core" (other necessary work).
Some teams are continuing to use the #worktype-maintenance and #worktype-newfunctionality tags for their own purposes.
Pilot Study on Maintenance Fraction
Several teams were asked to measure their maintenance fraction for at least two weeks. We created new Phabricator tickets to facilitate this. Five teams have confirmed numerical results, varying from 25% to 76% maintenance (compared to new functionality). We identified many definitions of Maintenance, some orthogonal and some conflicting. We did not reach consensus on a single definition. Several teams are continuing to track this data.
|Team||% Maintenance||Metric||Methodology||Details||Data Range|
|VisualEditor||37%||Task Points||Tasks pointed and tagged at triage||
||Jun 18 to Sep 30 2015|
|Collaboration||Tag tasks at review||
||Aug 21, 2015|
|Discovery||25-50% (for Cirrus)||Task Count||
||2015-08-26 to 2015-10-31|
|Release Engineering||76%||Task Count||Https://phabricator.wikimedia.org/T109375||Sep 1 to 21 2015|
|Services||Daily Manual estimation over sample period||2 weeks ca Sep 2015|
|Reading Infrastructure||55%||Hours||Time tracking over sample period||Tracked hours over 2 week sample.
"could be directly associated with a quarterly goal for the team or the individual."
|Oct 20 - Nov 2 2015|
|Mobile Apps||Apps teams have tagged backlog tasks, and have incorporated tagging into their triaging and estimation meetings (squeezing both ends of the tube). Some changes were done in batch based on criteria, so some gray-area tasks like research spikes may need tag review in the future.
As the iOS team uses a kanban-esque system, with a separate dev board, it might take a little while to see tasks entering that board and worked on. The Android team should see things entering sprints immediately.
|Fr-tech||38%/33%/?||Task Points||Measured by points for two sprints ca July-Aug 2015. This is expected to vary strongly by season. "individuals on the team have differing opinions" on category definitions. Some work was "unplanned" but not "Maintenance".|
Dimensions of Interest
Maintenance vs New work
Category A: Lights On
"Keeping the lights On"
Something essential will fail immediately (days? hours?) if this work is not done.
Category B: Maintenance
anything which keep search ticking, but doesn't related directly to our goals
Something essential will fail or degrade fairly soon (weeks? months?), or will cost much more to fix later, if this work is not done now.
Category C: New Projects
Functionality that is not currently available.
Can a team be their own customer? If a team delivers functionality to themselves, to make their own work easier/cheaper/better, is that category C, or B?
So this includes *all* new features, even if they are relatively minor tweaks to existing functional areas?
Endogenous vs Exogenous
Internal to team goals
Interrupt vs planned
Interrupt. Work that is added to a to-do list (or just done) on a few days notice or less; work that is done before work that is both planned and high-priority.
Strategic vs Not Strategic
most strategic in terms of achieving our mission
Fulfills a quarterly goal.
Not Strategic. Shouldn't be doing it.
Does not fulfill a quarterly goal.
Prototyping / research
17 Aug 2015 meeting
1) Figure out how to meet request for teams to report on maintenance fraction
1a) Clear standards across groups
2) Figure out what teams want to measure for their own use
3) Make sure we know how to proceed
3a) clarify vs other dimensions
Why is Terry asking for the three categories?
- WMF-level planning, budgeting
- Katie: you want to do this to justify your hiring needs.
- David: Can also use this [ongoing maintenance cost] to justify sunsetting things.
Why is Lila asking for her categories, which are slightly different?
- maybe Lila wants some of this to figure out if a team belongs in which section?
- Lila's categories in the notes are specific feedback to one team or role, not everybody
Is this all Engineering, or all Foundation?
What should we call Maintenance vs New Work, as opposed to the other possible dimensions?
Proposed: Maintenance Fraction.
Can we differentiate between A and B?
- Greg - no
- Katie - sort of - sort of have AB/Interrupt and AB/Non-Interrupt
- B is debt
- Does anyone have a rule for differentiating A from B that could work for most teams?
Is there stuff that is inward-facing that belongs to C?
Does C include prototyping new things, researching existing things?
- We probably have a lot of edge cases and maybe should do card sorting or other offline activity to get our collective judgment in sync
Proposed definition for C:
- C is work that produces functionality that a non-foundation person would see/use.
- This doesn't work for teams with no external customers. Those teams can try counting other Foundation teams as their Category C customers.
How are we measuring?
- We will create a new tag to track this.
- Some teams are mostly AB or mostly C. to make it easier, they can tag just AB or just C, and assume all other tasks are the other category.
- Joel can create custom reports on other query-able factors (VE uses project column already)
- Joel: confirm definition (and check with Terry).
- All: Send suggestions for names for tag AB and tag C.
- Joel: continue/initiate email discussion on other categories
- continue in email (inc. mailing list) until and unless another forum becomes better
- All: Send edge case examples to Joel - how to measure follow-up discussion
If a team does maint on a tool the team doesn't own, should that count as maintenance? Or, in the new world, core? Does it matter if the Foundation "owns" the tool, or if it comes from another party? (Raised in context of Community Tech doing "fixes" work on non-WMF tools.)
- https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/WMF_Metrics_and_activities_meetings/Quarterly_reviews/Infrastructure,_July_2015 (Search for "slide 35")