When you're managing a team of programmers, one of the first things you have to learn to get right is task allocation. That's just a five-dollar word for giving people things to do. It's known colloquially as "file dumping" in Hebrew (because you dump files in peoples' laps). And how you decide which files to dump in which laps is one of the areas where you can get incredible productivity benefits if you do it right. Do it wrong, and you can create one of those gnarly situations where nobody gets anything accomplished and everybody complains that "nothing ever gets done around here."
My latest article, Human Task Switches Considered Harmful, explains why you should be careful that each programmer is only working on one thing at a time.
Don't buy puppies at pet stores.
You’re reading Joel on Software, stuffed with years and years of completely raving mad articles about software development, managing software teams, designing user interfaces, running successful software companies, and rubber duckies.
I’m Joel Spolsky, co-founder of Fog Creek Software, a New York company that proves that you can treat programmers well and still be highly profitable. Programmers get private offices, free lunch, and work 40 hours a week. Customers only pay for software if they’re delighted. We make Trello, easy web-based collaboration software, FogBugz, an enlightened bug tracking and software development tool, and Kiln, a distributed source control system that will blow your socks off. I’m also the co-founder and CEO of Stack Exchange. More about me.