Developer Coverage

The managers have a policy on taking vacations. You need to make sure you have somebody covering for you. A developer on our team was taking a massive one month vacation this past month. Then she needed an extra week to care for a sick family member. She was supposed to arrange coverage for her tasks.

She ended up letting our team lead figure out the work coverage. That was a bad move. Our team lead asked two members on our team get familiar with some code changes the vacationing developer was going to make. These members just got familiar with the code changes. In effect, they made sure they could check in code changes on the vacationing developer's behalf. This happened and the software was released to test.

Then the testers needed help figuring out how to do the testing. That was a problem. One ghost developer had checked the code changes in. However knowing what the fix was fixing was beyond comprehension. I got the players involved on a conference call to clear up who was supposed to do what. Apparently the job of the two developers was to gain a better understanding of the actual problem that was being fixed. That makes sense. But you need to be explicit about this if you are giving out directions. That did not happen. This all could have been avoided if the original developer going on vacation had arranged and trained up someone who could provide coverage. That means somebody can do everything the vacationing developer would do if they were in the office. Sometimes the manager policies are actually there for a good reason.