I am a college student who wants to take part in an IT competition, which will take place in a few weeks. We have a project that will be done in a limited time. My team has three people but some of them are still new to programming (at least they have studied algorithms).

Consider these factors :

  • They said they want to learn, but you can't make sure they truly are. How can I motivate them ?
  • We work under pressure of a deadline
  • I want to help them become more independent
  • I want them to learn in most effective way

How do I lead them, assist them, allocate tasks and finish the project on time?

  • 1
    Welcome to PMSE! You may get even better answers by specifying what your role is and how you are connected to the other people on the project. For example, are they employees, contractors, group project for school, project done because you all want to do it (unpaid), etc. Mar 29, 2015 at 16:37
  • do you want to teach them, or do you want to win?
    – Ewan
    May 5, 2015 at 14:47

2 Answers 2


Have you considered paired programming?

In areas completely foreign to them, the other developer could be the "driver", allowing them to get some good insight into this project. It'll also keep them from spinning their wheels a long periods of time when taking on challenging pieces of code (to your point about deadlines). Interestingly, I've found it also makes people more independent, due to added confidence from that safety net of another set of eyes.

The one word of caution would be that any changes to the team (even if it was an experienced developer) almost always has a brief negative impact on team throughput because it forces the team back through Tuckman's model. If you've got a few months to your deadline, you should be able to absorb that and gain the benefits of the extra team member and it should help you meet your deadline. If you're talking about a few weeks, it may be best to let the team be for now.

  1. Define the tasks that you can delegate for the newbies f.e. for the upcoming work week.
  2. Set up a meeting with them and let them choose the tasks and estimate the task by hours or days independently.
  3. Check if they manage to do their work on time.
  4. Delegate them bigger/smaller tasks depending on the outcome.

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