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NOTE: Highly experimental!

In an attempt to spend our time wisely, our team (of six, at the time of writing) wants to work in tracks:

  • The hat track is typically one person, "the hat".
  • The small tasks track is typically one person.
  • The planned tasks track is everyone else.

We'll deviate from this if we need all hands on deck for some urgent deadline or major issue, but that should be rare.


  • A small task is any task judged by the hat to be faster to just do, than to take the overhead of prioritizing it during planning. (Typically less than half a day of work or so.)
  • A big task is any task judged to be worth that overhead. (Typically more than half a day of work or so.)
  • An urgent task is any unplanned-for task that must be done quite soon. To e.g. fix an incorrect state, a major broken window or because a customer is waiting for an answer.

Making requests

"Requests" can be things like bug reports, feature ideas, tasks and technical questions. Both from outside and from inside the dev team.

We want to have only these two ways of getting the dev team to do something for you:

  1. If you know it to be big: bring it to the weekly stakeholder planning meeting.
  2. Otherwise: report it to the hat (e.g. by our !hat chat command, or in person).

During the weekly stakeholder planning meeting, stakeholders (plus a developer representative) decide on what to prioritize.

The developer representative:

  • gives a technical perspective (e.g. estimates)
  • brings up any tasks that the hat deferred as "to plan" (see below)

Maintenance tasks (big or small) desired by developers count as any other request and follow the same process.

The hat

The hat triages requests and routes them where they belong:

  • Bouncing back to the requester, if the task is unclear or very flawed.

    The requester then clarifies or rethinks it and makes a new request per above.

  • Put in the hat's own todo list, if it's fairly urgent, such as:

    • technical questions to answer (e.g. second line support, or internal support)
    • data export
    • data changes due to UI limitations
    • data corrections due to bugs
  • Put in the small tasks wishlist, if it's a non-urgent small task.

  • Put in a "bring to planning" column on the Hat Trello board, if the task is big.

The hat lets the requester know where their request ended up.

The hat works on their own todo list of urgent tasks.

If the hat has nothing to do, they temporarily join the small tasks track.

The small tasks team and the small tasks wishlist

The small tasks team works on things in the small tasks wishlist.

If a task turns out not to be small (as defined above), they put it in the "bring to planning" list on the Hat Trello board.

Everyone (including non-devs) helps keep this list in a reasonable order; it will likely grow faster than it shrinks.