Practice: Workload Management

Practice Workload Management

Objective

The objective of workload management is to have team members themselves manage the day-to-day activities required to deliver features at the end of each iteration.

Discussion

To the greatest extent possible, team members should manage their own workload. Each individual and the team as a whole are accountable to deliver the results they have committed to in the iteration plan. How they accomplish that goal (within the process and practice framework the team designed) and which team members take on which tasks should be left to team members collectively to decide. As with many of the agile practices, individuals and teams that exercise self-discipline can carry this off effectivelyothers can't.

In developing the next iteration plan, team members determine the tasks required to deliver planned features and sign up for those tasks themselves. Workload management also involves team members monitoring their own progress during an iteration (in part during daily integration meetings) and making necessary adjustments. This does not mean that the project manager or team leader abdicates his management responsibilities. When the team consistently meets its commitments, few interventions by the manager are required. However, when the team is implementing a new practice or technology, when new or less- experienced members join the team, managerial interventionoften in the form of coachingmay be necessary.

The project manager needs to monitor without micro-managing, primarily by establishing and monitoring performance goals (features, quality targets, required practices) rather than tasks. In some situations the difference between coaching and micro-managing is attitude. Micro-managers attempt to specify detailed activities and then constantly monitor whether or not those activities are completed on time. At their core , most of these managers view nonattainment of these micro-activities as a motivational problem. They believe that employees aren't working hard enough or fast enough.

Coaching managers, in contrast, understand that there will be motivational problems with only a small percentage of employees (they have tried to get the right people, after all). They approach performance as a capability issue and conclude that staff members who aren't performing don't have the information, tools, or experience for the task at hand. They see their role not as the hallway monitor, but as the teacher who helps with resources, information, or technical coaching. During an iteration, a coaching manager's attitude is reflected in the question, "How can I help you deliver results?" The micro-manager's attitude is reflected in the question, "Why isn't task 412 done yet?"

The project manager is in his position because of particular skills, abilities , and experience. It would be a waste of those capabilities for him to stand aside and let the team flounder. Project managers are expected to guide and coach to further develop the team's capability. Agile project managers steer rather than control; they nudge rather than bludgeon. However, continued intervention by the manager is an indicator of failuretoo little progress, too little capability, too little self-discipline, or the wrong person in the role. Team members should manage their own workloadmanagers have their hands full with other activities.

The Agile Revolution

Guiding Principles: Customers and Products

Guiding Principles: Leadership-Collaboration Management

An Agile Project Management Model

The Envision Phase

The Speculate Phase

The Explore Phase

The Adapt and Close Phases

Building Large Adaptive Teams

Reliable Innovation





Agile Project Management. Creating Innovative Products
Agile Project Management: Creating Innovative Products (2nd Edition)
ISBN: 0321658396
EAN: 2147483647
Year: 2003
Pages: 96
Authors: Jim Highsmith
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