Mastering Work Intake: From Chaos to Predictable Delivery

  • 3h 8m
  • Jeremy Willets, Thomas M. Cagley, Jr.
  • J. Ross Publishing
  • 2024

Regardless of whether you’re creating, enhancing, or maintaining software products, work intake is a challenge you deal with constantly. Doing the right work at the right time can make or break your project, and there are surprisingly few resources to show you how to manage this process effectively. You need to know what your team is executing, what work is next, and the skill sets required to do the work.

Mastering Work Intake: From Chaos to Predictable Delivery focuses on the full pipeline that work follows as it enters and exits your organization, including the different types of work that enter at different levels and times. It is a must-read for agile coaches, Scrum Masters, product owners, project and portfolio managers, team members, and anyone who touches the software development process. Mastering work intake involves recognizing that it’s easy to say “yes” and much harder to say “no.”

About the Author

Thomas M. Cagley, Jr. is a consultant, speaker, author, coach, and agile guide who leads organizations and teams to unlock their inherent greatness. He has developed estimation models and has supported organizations developing classic and agile estimates. Tom helps teams and organizations improve cycle time, productivity, quality, morale, and customer satisfaction, and then prove it.

Tom is an internationally respected blogger and podcaster for over 11 years, focusing on software processes and measurement. His blog entries and podcasts have been listened to or read over a million times. He co-authored Mastering Software Project Management: Best Practices, Tools and Techniques with Murali K. Chemuturi. Tom penned the “Agile Estimation Using Functional Metrics” chapter in The IFPUG Guide to IT and Software Measurement. His certifications include SAFe® Practice Consultant (SPC) and CSM.

Tom can be found at

Jeremy Willets is a coach, speaker, and author who has spent the last decade working with people and teams to achieve greatness in the workplace. He started out as a technical writer on a Scrum team and quickly fell in love with Scrum and the Agile Manifesto values and principles. Since then, he’s served thriving organizations as a Scrum Master, agile coach, senior agile coach, release train engineer, people manager, and mentor.

Jeremy has spoken at conferences throughout the midwestern United States. He’s an avid Substack blogger and music maker. He holds a SAFe® Practice Consultant (SPC) certification.

Jeremy can be found at

In this Book

  • Introduction to Terms
  • WAV™ Page
  • What is Work Intake?
  • What Does Good Work Intake Look Like?
  • Work Intake Basics
  • Who Cares About Work Intake?
  • Three Levels of Work Intake
  • Work Intake Antipatterns: When Work Intake Goes Wrong
  • Section One—Conclusion
  • Section One: Introspection
  • Prioritization
  • The Who, When, and How of Prioritization
  • Prioritization at All Three Levels
  • Prioritization Antipatterns
  • Sequencing
  • The Who, When, and How of Sequencing
  • Sequencing at All Three Levels
  • Sequencing Antipatterns
  • Prioritization and Sequencing—Related But Different
  • Section Three: Introspection
  • Flow
  • Flow Metrics
  • Flow Metrics Palette
  • Flow Metrics at All Levels
  • Metrics Antipatterns
  • Section Three: Introspection
  • The Primary Causes of Work Intake Problems
  • Fixing the Primary Causes of Work Intake Problems
  • Why Middle Management Can Be Mushy
  • Middle Management Antipatterns: Competing Interests
  • When Work is Done
  • Section Four: Introspection
  • Afterword