Management Antipattern: Task Assignment by Accident, or Worse

This is not the face you want your team to get familiar with

Short version: Assign tasks in a transparent manner

Generalized: Visibility to task definition, priority, and assignment allows for better organization of work

Ultra-specific request of managers: Watch out for duplication of effort, for the appearance of favoritism, for consistently discarded effort, for consistently changing priorities, and for consistently missed milestones despite people putting the work in. These are likely a result of task assignment problems.

This is a software engineering article.

For the moment, imagine you’re working in a bookstore:

You wouldn’t be surprised when milestones are missed. So why is the manager?

As a software engineer and former bookstore clerk, this analogy makes a lot of sense to me.

Does it to you?

Some advice to managers who need to assign tasks:

Who can do it best?

Who needs to learn this the most?

Whose responsibility is this?

Think of making an effective team as part of the task and bake that into the estimate.

Going it alone and being resented for foisting unvetted work is not an ingredient for a good team.

Who am I?

As someone with over two decades of leadership experience in the tech world, I still make mistakes. I have a treasure trove of anti-patterns I’ve either seen or exercised myself.

In short, I know the good stories. Don’t assume my stories are from my current place of employment. Odds are they are not.

I’m a senior data engineer experienced in Python and various SQL flavors, a process improver, a leader/manager, and someone who wants employee experiences to improve.

I hope you enjoy reading the articles in the Leadership Anti-Pattern series as much I enjoy writing them.

Resident of Frogpondia.

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