As developers we are constantly working on the “next critical” task. This could be a new feature that was promised to a customer. It could be some infrastructural change that we need to juggle without disruption to our usual services. It could be a bug that is costing us money by the hour.

Whatever it is, we need to learn to take a break and do some review after we finish one of these tasks. Mostly, we move directly to the next critical task. No break. No reward. No time to review what we’ve learned. No time to revel in the fact that we achieved something significant. That we added value.

There would definitely have been some late nights and some very stressful moments in getting to the finish line. The business needs to acknowledge this. There should be some scheduled down time at the end of every critical task. This might mean giving the team involved a few days off to recover. It might also mean having a small celebration to mark the occasion. There could be other types of rewards like money or time to work on their own projects.

This rest and reward will help the team to de-stress and replenish. It will help them return to work enthusiastic about the next task on their list. In addition there should be a retrospective where the team understand their successes and try to learn from their mistakes. All useful information for the next task.

Having this rest, reward and review can help sustain a team through many critical tasks without burning out. It would be myopic to burn out a great team that consistently delivers value.