Being busy is often a sign of disorganised life. I have read accounts of academics being busy, but always a free time to write a perfect long-form rebuttal to other academics.
To me, this whole situation seemed absurd. Both himself and his team were too busy to do their work properly and with any level of quality that wouldn’t only make matters worse. The business had defined the deadline, the scope, and had (almost gleefully) ignored asks for more time and resources. His lack of experience in the role meant that he simply accepted this fate and would instead pressure his team to deliver faster to try and compensate. This meant sacrificing quality engineering practices and, most disappointingly, the quality-of-life of his team. Little did he realise at the time, but…
as long as you are doing your work well and continuously working on the next most important thing prioritised by the business, any pressure to deliver beyond what your team is capable of is objectively unreasonable.
Here’s something more important takeaway:
You and your team should never be so busy that you can’t do your job properly or that you begin to hate your work. Especially if you’re a leader or a leader-of-leaders, then you should actually (yes you should, I’ll die on this sword) have free time to think alone, and to talk and ideate organically with peers. Contrary to popular belief: back-to-back meetings isn’t a badge of honour, it’s a red flag.
Create clear lines of priority!