When lead engineers in your technology team are constantly being pulled away constantly for unplanned work, they are no longer contributing to work in progress and stopping the product life cycle. Delegation and communication issues cause downtime. Lead engineers usually don't have a ton of product mgmt influence. Is usually the person solely responsible for keeping any modern tech company running
Engineering groups moving to simply cross train without some planning will see this process doesn’t work as intended and results in more issues. Instead of promoting cross training among developers, what is needed is good documentation and known processes. Good documentation is more than possible if a group takes the time to do it. Good employee and resource management is preferable and easier in the long run to simply just cross training your team.
Spreading things out to lessen the burden on your top performers does have benefits. For one, cross training provides stability by having multiple people capable of filling a role and can mitigate against employee absence or departure. Cross training also creates more flexibility. If disaster strikes in a particular department or function, additional employees can be brought in from other groups to assist.
Don’t spread things out too far. Employees might see cross-training efforts as having additional responsibilities piled onto them for no additional compensation. Not all employees want to perform jobs they weren’t hired for, and a compulsory cross-training program can lead to employee resentment, burnout, and poor morale. Cross training is only as good as your documentation. As employees leave or go on vacation or systems change, documentation needs to be updated.
One major thing to avoid is being held ransom by a lead team member. High salaries, other perks, or skills no other team members possess are a common factor here. Allowing this environment to exist results in critical employees being overpaid for their roles, disadvantaging other team members.