I am unofficially given an opportunity to lead a very strong technical team.

We work in 24*7 shifts there. We have shift handover happening twice a day.

Currently we are just preparing a set of tables with a few columns to enter details like any open issues or tickets and their update + future tasks for the resource person coming in to the shift.

Personally I think updating the sheet is a hot mess and things get untidy very soon. I tried sending a couple of emails to members where they forgot to remove a completed task from handover like weeks old or just randomly entering new data which gives me anxiety. Just looking at how untidy things are is probably why the team seems bit lame here.

How should I approach the team when I do not get any real engagement, or how to get some spark to get everyone on track so that they feel excited as well as important in updating the handover nicely?

By shift I mean we have 6 people working 8 AM to 8 PM ET as 1st shift and 8PM to 8 AM ET as 2nd shift. We have handover updated at these 2 times during a call as well as on a Sharepoint tracker where things are all hot mess. Out of 6 only one would be primary every week who is responsible for updating sheet. Next week it's the next person and so on.

By unofficial I mean an opportunity given to lead internal team which I have been working with past 4 years. This opportunity given based on half a dozen projects lead by me, but they did not involve working with people on the same team. As of now this authority does not hold any vital decisive calls which impacts a resource like annual review etc.

Others see me as someone question would be hard to answer because there may be some who will agree while other may be on a different page. I can send emails and loop my higher manager for push to make everyone follow a process which might work but I don't want to take that route as would not showcase me as a future leader. I want to understand what is stopping them and how can we overcome this as a team.

Please provide suggestions for how to approach this situation!

  • When you say you work in shifts, what does that mean? How many people are in the team, in total, and how many are there during one shift? Also, this "unofficial" role, does it come with some sort of authority? Do the others see you as someone who has the responsibility to lay out a form of organization for everyone?
    – Bogdan
    Feb 10, 2021 at 19:28
  • [...] loop my higher manager for push to make everyone follow a process which might work but i dont want to take that route as would not showcase me as a future leader. Excellent! By my comment above I was not suggesting to make use of authority, I was just trying to understand the bigger picture and how your role fitted with the others.
    – Bogdan
    Feb 10, 2021 at 20:18
  • @Bogdan: Sure, i understand. Any feedback greatly appreciated here on my situation, thanks! Feb 10, 2021 at 21:27
  • What does this have to do with project management? Would it be a better fit for workplace.SE?
    – MCW
    Feb 10, 2021 at 23:16
  • 2
    Looks like you are making employees work nearly 13 hours per day. 12 hour shift + 2 handover calls - one at the start and the other at the end of the shift. This is very detrimental for the work life balance of the employees. You will soon burn them out. Pl consider changing it to 3x8 hour shifts per day. Feb 11, 2021 at 6:54

1 Answer 1


It would help to know the nature of your team's work, and what kind of tickets you work on. Handing over work in progress to a different person works reasonably well if the task is shoveling sand from one heap to another, but not really for intellectual tasks where the majority of the effort is in understanding the problem and finding a solution.

That said, if you have a more-or-less continuous stream of moderately small-sized tickets, a kanban approach may work best, supported by some ticketing system that allows team members to pick work items, make notes, update their status etc. Going through a central person is a major bottleneck.

Handover (as in passing unfinished items to the next person or shift) should only be necessary when items can not be finished within one worker's shift and are very time-critical, so can't wait until they return to work next day. Even then, you need to realize that handing over development or problem analysis work incurs immense overhead and should be avoided as much as possible.

If your team members can pick the next work item or ticket based on a reasonable estimation of time needed and don't have to strictly follow some arbitrary ordering (such as FIFO or highest prio first) they may be able to avoid handover most of the time except when their estimation turns out to be much too low initially.

As per Ashok's comment, 12 hour shifts seem extremely unusual, what country is this? Do they still allow slave labor? Most of the world has come to the conclusion that around 8 hours per day is the maximum work time for mentally demanding tasks (sadly, hospital doctors and nurses often have to work much longer shifts, but these are structured somewhat differently.) After a 12 hours work day, I would be about as excited about handing over work in a stressful conference call as I would be about sorting a basket of stinky football player socks - expecting engagement from the team seems a little out of place here.

  • OP is active on the database administrators SE site. From that one may derive that the work may involve 27/4 support for some datacenter-like place, tending to some servers. That may help imagining the relevance of the 12h shifts. I have never worked in a datacenter, but I could imagine that the long part of the work is monitoring; meanwhile some tickets need to get sorted out, but we don't know how many. It might be the case that less than 12 hours are spent on the demanding tickets; work could even be spaced out accross the shift at the discretion of the individual... [All just guesses.]
    – Levente
    Mar 15, 2021 at 2:55

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