5 Whys is a blog about technical leadership in the software world.

Spread your workload

The following is a guest post by John Hill. You can submit your own guest posts here.

John is a .NET Team Leader / Senior Developer for a small Australian CMS software development company.

During my many years of experience as a team lead (albeit only very recently in software development) I have seen other team leads "flog their workhorses".

In many team environments, there will be members who are less likely to willingly accept tasks that they don't enjoy - the "complainers" (i.e. they kick up a stink) and those who just get their heads down and complete any task that you give them - the "reliables".

I have seen many team leaders, including myself in my early years, naturally give the less fun jobs to the "reliables" as there is less chance of resistance and less chance of conflict with the person they're assigning the task to.

In the very short term, this strategy may work in your favour, however there are some repercussions:

1. The team as a whole may begin to pass work off to the "reliables".
2. The "reliables" will eventually burn out.
3. The "reliables" will become frustrated and you will more than likely lose their respect.
4. Internal conflict will arise as the "reliables" will separate themselves from the "complainers".

The solution involves sharing the load equally. If you gave a "boring" task to Member A today, give the "boring" task to Member B tomorrow - regardless of whether they complain. This will build up a culture of every team member being equal.

Distributed Team Evasion Tactic - Away or Offline

Change your mind: your product is your team