How to Divide Problems Up

It's fun to take a software project and divide it up into tasks that will be performed by individuals. This should be done early. Sometimes managers like to think that an estimate can be made without consideration of the individuals that will perform the work. This is impossible since the productivity of individuals varies so widely. Who has particular knowledge about a component also constantly changes and can have an order of magnitude effect on performance.

Just as a composer considers the timbre of the instrument that will play a part or the coach of an athletic team considers the strengths of each player, the experienced team leader will not usually be able to separate the division of the project into tasks from the team members to which they will be assigned. This is part of the reason that a high-performing team should not be broken up.

There is a certain danger in this given that people will become bored as they build upon their strengths and never improve their weaknesses or learn new skills. However, specialization is a very useful productivity tool when not overused.

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