I hate backlogs. It is a mystery to me that I’ve worked in tech for over a decade because there is no such thing as a week where you get to check “done” on every Jira task assigned to you. You will never shut your laptop down at the end of a work week and say to yourself, “I have solved all the problems!” It just isn’t going to happen.
Backlogs will happen for a variety of reasons. More urgent issues come up and rightly so you need to re-prioritize what you are focusing on. The important thing is not to forget about that backlog indefinitely. In the past couple of years, the Community and Product Teams have been working really hard to minimize backlogs and address ones that have pre-dated many of us. In my first week at Stack Overflow, I participated in a status-review tag smash to work through the posts that had gone through the new escalation process established in 2020 that had gone without a response.
However, there were a number of posts across the various Meta sites on the platform that predated the new escalation process, so they’ve been sitting in status-review limbo for years. It was a goal of mine to make sure that backlog was tackled.
Last quarter, several of the Product Managers and Community Managers split up and reviewed the 196 issues across the Meta sites on SE that have been sitting in status-review since 2020 or earlier. The teams put our heads together to determine what items had been previously resolved, which were now moot (i.e. the ones related to Jobs or some other feature that has since been sunset), which items we aren’t able to tackle in the near future, and which ones we will be.
Throughout the past few weeks several Community Managers have been hard at work updating the statuses and triaging the handful of items that we’re keeping in status-review for the moment because we need to dig a little deeper to determine the solution and if it’s something we can take on in an upcoming quarter or not. We’ll be commenting and updating the status on those items in the near future.
Getting rid of this backlog is a huge step towards improving our response rate on status-review items each quarter. Having a backlog over the years is part of the reason that we’ve set two targets every quarter, one for the current period and one for previous periods. Moving forward, beginning next quarter we are going to focus on a single target number, and my goal is for us to gradually increase that target so that we are responding to status-review items at a higher rate and in a more timely manner than we’ve been able to in the past.
Blasting through these remaining legacy status-review items was a team effort. Kudos and major thanks to tanj92, Brendan, jkm, Catija, JNat, Slate, SpencerG, and V2Blast. By updating these posts, everyone has transparency in what’s getting picked up by the Community and Product teams. This was our ultimate goal in taking on this initiative.