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Dealing with Manpower Problems

By Four-Eyes ·
Due to the recent wave of streamlining initiatives that took place in our company, i've had to deal with managing a dwindling team of developers in my group (we're now down to 5 from a previous team of 10). Though i'm happy with the amount of good projects that have come our way, it's starting to become a nightmare for me on how to effectively assign and shuffle my people between the varying projects and give them realistic deadlines at the same time. I started out as a developer myself and try to take on some of the programming burden as much as my schedule can afford me, but management chores and meetings just take too much time away from me to be of any real help to my team. I've been thinking of how I can justify to upper managementthat I need to outsource some of the work (or else we'll soon be missing deadlines) without me being painted as an ineffective manager in their eyes. Any advice on how I should approach these problems?

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Project plans with Gant Charts

by Budelmjt In reply to Dealing with Manpower Pro ...

Project plans are the key to explaining to management when stuff will be done. They take a great deal of time to do well, and are a PM's Broadsword and shield.

Do not forget to give a high overhead number to heavily fragmented programmers (too many projects to switch among). Provide an overheading explanation for a highly fragmented person. Task switching is very expensive (time wise) for a programmer. The reseach is pretty extensive on this subject. The achillies heel, is the actual task time. If you try to fold the overhead into it, it will look lioke you are padding.
Also, do not forget to include yourself as a resource, and the project plan maintenance as a task.
Track a couple of projects to start to get good at doing this, before wielding it as a weapon. If necessary, go back and retrofit this tool to previous projects. Ask the programmers the cost to them of taskswitching. Make a composite average for your people, and assume they are unbounded optimists, unless you know otherwise, somehow.

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