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Learning by fixing — the value of triage engineer rotations

By John Lafleur 1 minute read

TL;DR: At Intercom, every week, they nominate a triage engineer for the team, who serves to shield teammates from distractions during the working hours. Their teammates, in turn, are able to deeply focus on their goals. But the benefits go much further than fostering better focus.

  • Triaging is nothing more than determining the priority of an emergency. The prerequisite for this process is that each team should have a set of categories covering their area of responsibility.
  • An important part of the process is assessing the priority of issues as they arise
  • At the end of the week, organize a short issues hand-off. Use this meeting to inform the next on call triage engineer about the important issues left open or possible issues arising.
  • Engineers realize the value of not breaking things. By regularly working triage rotations, engineers realize the value of not breaking things, or more precisely, the value of building them to be stable and resilient. They get a broad context of what the team owns and how things work, and where weaknesses can occur.



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