The Domain Champion is an expert in a particular area of the codebase.
They know nearly everything there is to know about their domain:
every class, every method, every algorithm and pattern.
In truth, they probably wrote most of it, and in some cases rewrote the same sections of code multiple times.
The Domain Champion isn’t just “the engineer who knows credit card processing”;
it’s all they ever work on. It’s their whole day, every day.
Some degree of job specialization is essential and often motivating.
But even within specialized roles there can be ‘too much of one thing.’
Managers must balance enabling a team member to unilaterally own the expertise,
and encouraging breadth of experience.
HOW TO RECOGNIZE IT
Domain Champions will always work in the same area of code.
They’ll also rewrite their code over and over,
and you’ll see it in churn and legacy refactoring metrics as they perfect it.
Domain Champions will seldom, if ever, appear blocked.
Short-term, it’s a highly productive pattern.
But it’s often not sustainable and can lead to stagnation,
which of course can lead to attrition.
WHAT TO DO
Assign tickets that focus on other areas of the codebase.