Kickstart - Productive Scheduling

So, I've been behind on this blog. It's been about a year at the current position, which filters every blog at the firewall. I may actually ask for them to allow me to keep posting here, because I've had some interesting stuff on my mind.

One of them was project scheduling, prompted by something a friend said a few months back. Most of the best developers I've met really *like* money, but aren't driven by it; they're driven by solving problems that are interesting to them. That doesn't overlap well with project milestones necessarily, as things that are required for the sales team aren't often the fun problems the developers want to dive into. Additionally, if you have a few different types of personality on the same team, what makes one dev stay late to figure out would get another to give up and leave early.

Recently, I've been doing light task scheduling for the team, breaking down who's going to get what task. It's not my official position, so every task comes with a disclaimer that I'm the bottom of the totem pole, and if a manager says do something else, please do.

But it's given me the opportunity to try to estimate the time *other* folks will take to do work. And it's remarkably better to show a small team an unsorted list of tasks, and let them pick off what they *want* to do, than it is to assign tasks out, even if you would have assigned the same tasks to the same people. They work harder, they work smarter, and they go home happier.

Which isn't to say there aren't ways to get someone to pick up the slow work. "Someone has to take #7 off the list", "let's let the new guy cut his teeth on #3, if someone will watch over his shoulder", and "I'll take whatever task no one else wants" seem to be the best motivators, in reverse order.

Any motivational tricks you'd suggest, folks?

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