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Save Time. Let Workers Pick Their Own Tasks

Posted by Andy Singleton on Sun, Oct 07, 2007
A lot of project managers spend a lot of time figuring out who should do what task.  They they push tasks out to their developers.  I find that my projects usually go faster if I don't try to figure out, in advance, who should do what.  I like to use a pull system.  Team members pull their own tasks out of the ticket list.  A team member can select one ticket at a time from the list of tickets for the next milestone, put his/her name on it, and commit the related changes as quickly as possible.

Why not push?

- it is extra work for me, the manager, that I can let my developers do.

- It creates delays. If I inevitably assign more than one task to a developer, then the second task assigned to that developer isn’t getting worked on for as long as the first task is incomplete. In the pull system, that task would be unassigned, and someone might take it and finish it.

Pull is a double benefit for your schedule.  You do less work (the key to improved productivity), and you get to important work earlier.

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Well said, but is this a different concept than the good old 'todo list'? If so, what way?

posted @ Monday, October 08, 2007 12:24 AM by John Masterson

I have to say, this is the opposite from what I like about my favorite project managers. I'm a programmer, I don't want to have to think about task priorities. That's your job ;)

posted @ Monday, October 08, 2007 1:17 PM by Justin George

That is a good point. Developers should not have to set priorities. The roadmapping process, and the technical lead who posts the tickets, should set clear priorities. I am suggesting that developers choose from a menu of the established high priority tasks. That allows the developers (and there are usually more developer brains than manager brains) to think about something they are good at - whether they can do an effective implementation.

posted @ Monday, October 08, 2007 2:11 PM by

Andy, you're missing the biggest benefit: that people are doing work they *want* to do, and have committed publicly to doing, which will make them more likely to do the job well.

posted @ Thursday, October 11, 2007 8:24 PM by kareem

And, who gets to pick first ? What if a developer picks a task not really in his/her area of expertise ?

posted @ Thursday, October 18, 2007 6:26 AM by R2

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