The Constant

Pivotal/Tanzu Labs


Some teams require a designated engineer to hold context; many find that most of the engineers on a stable team can share context as needed.

Many Pivotal/Tanzu Labs teams describe “The Constant” when they describe the anchor role. In fact, the role was originally added to teams at a time when many Pivotal/Tanzu Labs engineer rotated projects more frequently and needed to make sure at least one engineer held context. Today, anchors often stay on projects longer than other Pivotal/Tanzu Labs engineer to help carry context, explain the “why” behind our decisions, and reassure stakeholders who have become fond of their anchor over time. However, some teams find this arrangement problematic when the anchor leaves.

An anchor with deep project context


  • Preserve valuable knowledge over time
  • Hold and share the historical context of the “whys” behind past decisions
  • Share information at the time it is most needed
  • On-board new team members


  • On most teams, the majority of the engineers are fully loaded on context, and capable of handling most of the responsibilities listed above
  • Consulting specific: Mature and/or highly skilled project teams should transition to a non-consultant anchor over time to reduce dependence on consultants
  • Some engineers transition to different projects, portfolios, or companies more often than others


  • Stakeholders can be very sensitive to rotating anchors
  • Anchors who stay on too long may develop anxiety around holding the majority of the context
  • The team might rely too heavily on the anchor to hold historical context, increasing project risk if the anchor becomes unavailable
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