Have you been caught up in a situation like you’re in the middle of building your algorithm for a complex business problem, another client raises an issue about their software bogging down. Then a few minutes later, your team leader asks you to explain what you did with the project delivered yesterday and while all of these are happening, new email messages pops up every 5 minutes.

Sounds familiar? Well, you’re not an isolated case. While in agile principles, team leads’ should protect their programmers during these scenarios but in an organization, there should be a software to manage in an automated manner. In our team, we teach them how to manage tasks:

1.Be Systematic – don’t work and solve tasks as it comes. Try to set your own definition of severity, complexity and priority. Tasks with the highest value and least effort should be prioritized.

2.Let your managers manage you – instead of managing yourself, try to seek help from your managers to help you in which one should you prioritize. Help them manage you at the same time by providing estimates and values for each issue or ticket assigned.

3.Practice Acknowledgment –  when certain issues arise, try to acknowledge it first. In the tech industry, SLAs are measured thru response time and acknowledging an issue as it comes will gently help customers and stakeholders manage expectations and so they won’t be bombarding you with follow ups that will add up to your pressure.

4. Don’t Force Yourself –  when things are beginning to get struck or if you couldn’t seem to solve an issue, then have a break. Breathe air, nourish self, eat fruits, take a power nap, and read, these things will greatly increase your creativity juices.

5. Swallow your ego- don’t be afraid to say that you couldn’t do it. As a manager, it’s always better to get honest feedback from members as early as possible. This will avoid delays and that your managers can assist you in sourcing help from other team members and / do research.

Dennis M. Hilario is the Founder & Managing Partner of Hilsoft, Inc. a software development R&D Lab in the Philippines.

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