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  Oracle Tips by Burleson

Managing Workload

One sub-team in a company supports data transfers to and from other companies in a highly-regulated industry. There are tremendous amounts of data passing back and forth on a continual basis and the workload is very demanding. This group has been understaffed for years, and the manager had not been afforded the opportunity to augment the staff with additional resources.

The change management system that feeds the work to the manager’s attention for this team has an upfront approval process of which the manager is not a member. The projects and tasks are approved without any consideration given to the current workload; thus, no strategic project management exists. The target dates for each project and task are determined in a vacuum, exclusive of other work in the pipeline.

This can quickly become a major problem for managing workload and meeting target dates when the work just comes in on top of everything else currently scheduled or waiting to be started. Many projects are defined as priority one, so how does a manager prioritize these except for working towards completing those that have the most imminent requested completion dates? Throw the unplanned problems and emergency requests that come in on a regular basis into the mix and this becomes a very difficult situation for quantifying, measuring, and tracking employee commitments because the commitments continually change in an unplanned manner.

Even in such a volatile environment, setting specific dates by which tasks should be completed is completely appropriate and useful. At least the attempt can be made to push out the commitment dates and change priorities if necessary. Attention should be given to the level or complexity of work assignments. An IT employee who regularly works on the most complex tasks or assumes a leadership role should be recognized for these efforts.

In these situations, it is understood that such technical leaders may, at times, produce a lesser quantity of work as a tradeoff for managing a much more difficult project. Balancing measures for the quality and quantity of work plus over-and-above contributions are a good foundation to gauge performance. 

The above book excerpt is from:

You're Fired! Firing Computer Professionals

The IT manager Guide for Terminating "With Cause"

ISBN 0-9744486-4-8

Robert Papaj

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