Damn DMs

Stop time sucks by kicking people out out of your team's DMs.

One of the biggest time sucks I have ever seen are DM requests and questions. Worse yet, this tends to be invisible work because it's happening inside people's DMs and this isn't something we usually check in on.

Why This Sucks

  • derailment: these messages are rarely about the team's task at hand, it usually more along the lines of, "Hey, do you know anything about xyz?" or "I'm working on xyz and you said xyz one time 3 years ago, can you help?" 🥴
  • pressure: another trend is these messages coming from peers on other teams and even worse, leadership(!) which makes it really hard to say "no"
  • context switching: even just reading and responding to these messages can pull someone out of their productive flow because who is going to ignore a message ping from VP or CEO??

My Jerk Hat

I've decided to deal with this by being "the jerk" for my team.

  • that's what she said: I tell me team to blame me,
    • "Tara is a real stickler about where I'm spending my time, so she'll want this all to go through her."
    • "I know Tara was totally ornery about us not running this past her, so could you message her directly?"
  • that's what I said: I've also put it publicly in our Slack channels and team docs, in a much kinder way, letting teams know that in order to keep us productive and aligned I needed any questions on our work or anything that may take some spoons to be posted in our team channel, in a group message with me, or directly to me.