2

There are more people working on the project. I created like 50 tasks. The project is programming of an application. I am a project manager here.

I have 2 options:

  1. Assign all tasks to corresponding person and mark it by priority (1 to 5). If someone is faster, I re-assign the task to him.

  2. Assign only a couple of task to each person and assign other based on their progress

Questions for 1 & 2.

  1. What if a person starts working and marks a task as Accepted, and I need to reassign it to another person? Mark it as New on re-assign?

  2. If many tasks are of the same priority, a person in charge may chose which one to take. Good or bad?

  3. How many tasks to assign for each person? How many active tasks should have each person?

The main goal is to finish the project quickly but preserving quality. I noticed that guys take tasks as they want. That is why I thought if assigning all tasks to them is the wrong way to do it. Maybe the proper way is to have a bunch of unassigned tasks, which I assign to those person who finalize their tasks the quickest.

So the main issue is how to properly assign tasks to my guys.

  • It is not clear which, if any, scheduling tool you are using. Can you edit the question to clarify? Also,there are many ways of allocating and prioritising tasks with team members, it is not clear from your question what constraints or goals are guiding you and therefore what the best fit might be. Can you expand your question to include more about what you are trying to achieve (i.e. you might want the fastest delivery, the most efficient utilization etc. etc.)? – Marv Mills Nov 27 '13 at 11:01
  • This is not tool specific. More about project management. Anyway, will expand the question. – ben_fff76 Nov 27 '13 at 11:16
  • As tool I am using Assembla service, but as I said, this is not bound to any specific PM tool. – ben_fff76 Nov 28 '13 at 11:54
4

You might prioritize the tasks into a backlog on a Kanban board.

Set a board policy that tasks are pulled by priority so that the most important tasks (relatively) are always being worked.

Either assign the tasks at a daily standup, or let team members pull them into their own Work In Progress column. Limit the WIP for maximum workflow.

With a daily standup, you will be have the agility to reassign tasks if needed, change priorities based on what you've learned, swarm to problem items and maximize flow. Focus the team on completing work rather than starting it.

The team members will pull new work into their WIP column as they complete work. If you set a limit of say, 2 items in WIP at a time, team members will move a completed task to the 'done' column and have an open slot in their WIP column. So the fastest people will automatically pull in work without your having to assign it.

Control quality by defining 'done.' For instance, done means 'documentation is updated, code is commented, tracking spreadsheet updated,' or whatever is appropriate to quality control on this project.

Because all the work is "on the board," tracking progress will be simplified.

It's not a silver bullet, but it might solve your problems and keep it simple for the team.

  • So you say to have a bunch of unassigned tasks and every team member pulls which ever he want with 1 mandatory urgent task? Wouldn't this lead to someone solving easy tasks while others solving only harder tasks? – ben_fff76 Nov 27 '13 at 19:30
  • @ben_fff76 What's wrong with that? Different people are motivated by different things and if some people do not work as hard, that is an issue for performance reviews. The PM cares most about the tasks getting completed on time. – earthling Jan 19 '14 at 9:19
4

Bottomline: Apply the same rule for the whole team might reduce your work but also reduce the overall throughput of the project. Sorry, you may need to threat case by case.

Here's why:

There's no one-size-fits-all answer for this question, as it depends on a lot of factors. You're dealing with people, and you won't have two people behaving equally in every aspect. Some aspects, though, can be assumed as common for most projects, which can come in hand to give some ideas that eventually may fit your specific needs.

Assumption #1: Every team member has his own speed

If you apply the same approach across the team, you might have someone struggling with a ticket for a long time (if we apply a FIFO logic for his task queue) while you may have someone on the other end jumping from task to task. Even though for the latter works to have a tasklist / pool of tasks, for the former there's no sense in keep a tasklist.

Assumption #2: People tend to avoid complex tasks

If there are tasks with same priority and one is more complex / longer, probably the task which requires less efforts will be picked up. That's probably the downside of your question #2.

So, with that in mind, I'd suggest you to split your team in two main 'work fronts': the experts and the beginners.

Experts:

  • Bigger tasklists
  • High-complexity tasks
  • Assist beginners on their tasks
  • More freedom to chose tasks
  • To be used as a jack of all trades in case of issues

Beginners:

  • Shorter tasklists
  • Medium to low complexity tasks
  • To be assisted / mentored by the experts
  • Constant feedbacks / progress tracking

With that structure in mind... I'd suggest you to use option 1 for your experts and option 2 for your beginners.

One last word: Make sure that the tasks when prioritized are done by more complex to less complex... otherwise you may have 80% of your project completed and realize that the other 20% of the project is going to take the same amount of effort of the other 80%.

Success!

2

The sense I get from this question is the degree of control the OP is trying have. Controls are certainly good but the cost of control is less fluidity, agility. At the level of assignments I infer from the question, my answer would be: ease up. Don't over think this.

I think the control point is at a higher level. Assign all your available resources against the work package. Let them figure it out, maybe with the aid of a team lead, how to get it done.

1

PMBOK & Best Practice assumes that planning takes place as a team. You're describing a top down driven planning & assignment effort.

You say,

I noticed that guys take tasks as they want.

Can you explain why that is a bad thing? How does that affect quality or scheduled delivery?

  • It does not. I just have to be extra care so they implement the little-small-thing the client expected today instead of doing something "more interesting". That's the only reason. – ben_fff76 Nov 27 '13 at 19:23
1

Basically the things goes as re-assign. Previously I was using a tool called JIRA. There once a task is created a unique id is generated and when ever that particular task is being assigned to any other person automatically it was taken as re-assign. If new task is required to be created then it should be with a unique id.

Secondly it doesn't matter whether the task is assigned immediately or one by one if a tool is used literally. Because everything is being organized and planned up there itself.

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