I am a mid-level developer at a large company.
My company uses a ticketing system to track our progress on issues. Each ticket has an estimated amount of time assigned to it from one of the lead developers, probably in order to make sure we don't waste too much time on any single issue.
Every developer on my team, from Sr. to Jr., use this system to track their progress/what they're working on.
On average, I finish tickets in 1/3 or even 1/4 of the allotted time for almost every task. I've noticed that everyone else on the team finishes at roughly around the estimated time given for the task.
I am honestly not sure if some people are truly struggling to complete their tasks on time, or if they are just lounging around because they have the extra time on the tickets.
I am too afraid to ask any of the other developers on the team.
Question: How obligated am I to actually finish my tasks in the time it really takes me? Could I ethically use the extra time to myself, say go for a walk, browse the internet..etc?
I've already technically chosen a path for this dilemma. I complete tickets in the actual time it takes me, submit it to the lead developer, and receive more tickets if I run out, which happens a lot. Over time, I have gained trust from the Sr. devs and am now trusted with the "complex" issues, and sometimes the Sr. devs pass along their own issues onto me when my plate is empty and they're falling behind. I still finish these tasks rather quickly (way ahead of schedule).
As a result, my team has shown a lot of appreciation to me, the higher ups have noticed and given me lots of recognition, and I even received a couple of small bonuses for my work.
Still, I'd like to know if it's the "right thing to do" to take some of the extra time and relax.