Case StudyStream Team: Product - Making Work Visible and Allocating Time for Tech Debt Reduction at King

King, a leading interactive entertainment company, faced challenges in managing technical debt across their various game teams. With a diverse range of games and a mix of internal customers, balancing the needs and priorities of different teams while ensuring consistent platform development became a complex task. The primary challenge was to maintain high-quality service delivery and continuous improvement while making technical debt management a visible and actionable part of the development process.

Making Work Visible and Allocating Time for Tech Debt Reduction at King

The Solution

King adopted a strategic approach that focused on visibility and structured time allocation for technical debt management:

  • Work Visibility: King emphasized the importance of making all work visible to internal stakeholders. By ensuring transparency, they could better manage resources and align priorities across different game teams.
  • Customer Alignment: Given that King operates in a B2B2C mode, aligning with internal customers (the game teams) was crucial. This alignment was achieved through regular communication and a strong focus on understanding the specific needs and challenges of each team.
  • Shared Platforms: King developed a shared platform approach, ensuring that any new capability introduced could be utilized by multiple teams. This approach helped in avoiding redundant efforts and centralizing technology that could benefit the broader organization.
  • Dedicated Time for Tech Debt: Recognizing the need to manage technical debt proactively, King allocated specific times for teams to focus solely on tech debt reduction. This structured approach allowed teams to address accumulated debt without compromising ongoing development work.
  • OKR Alignment: The use of shared Objectives and Key Results (OKRs) helped King align efforts across teams and maintain focus on high-priority tasks. Regular review and adjustment of OKRs ensured that the teams remained on track with their goals.

Outcomes achieved

King’s strategic approach to making work visible and allocating time for tech debt management led to several positive outcomes:

  • Improved Resource Management: By making all work visible, King was able to better allocate resources and balance the workload across teams. This transparency also facilitated more effective planning and prioritization.
  • Enhanced Alignment and Collaboration: Regular alignment meetings and shared OKRs fostered better collaboration between game teams and platform teams. This alignment ensured that all teams were working towards common goals and reduced the likelihood of duplicated efforts.
  • Reduced Technical Debt: The dedicated time for tech debt management allowed teams to systematically address and reduce technical debt. This proactive approach helped in maintaining code quality and prevented the accumulation of debt that could hinder future development.
  • Higher Platform Utilization: By focusing on shared platforms, King maximized the utility of their technological solutions across multiple teams. This approach not only saved time and resources but also ensured that the best practices and technologies were disseminated throughout the organization.
  • Sustainable Development Practices: The structured approach to managing technical debt and the emphasis on visibility contributed to more sustainable development practices. Teams were able to maintain a balance between delivering new features and ensuring the long-term health of their codebase.

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