Agile QuickTip: Maximize Efficiency by Assigning Tasks “Just in Time”

Using the “Just in Time” Approach for Task Assignment

Sometimes, pre-planning every detail of a sprint and who is going to work on what task when may not be the best approach for your team.  In fact, your team may find that taking a  “Just in Time” approach to work and task assignment may be far more effective than distributing this work upfront.

So, how does the “Just in Time” approach work?

With “Just in Time” task assignment, instead of tasks being assigned to team members at Sprint Planning, team members assign themselves to tasks as these need working on. Instead of trying to predict upfront how best to work on a task on day 5, let’s wait until day 5 or until the task needs working on to determine who and how it should best be addressed.

If on day 1 of a sprint it is so obvious who is going to work on a particular task – then why bother assigning it.  And if it is not so obvious how is going to work on something – why decide on day 1?  Instead, let’s wait till it needs working on.

I’m a big fan of “Just in Time” because it allows room for unknowns – we simply can’t see exactly how a project will unfold before we start.

There’s an added benefit to this method: by not pre-assigning tasks, if a task requires more than one person to work on it; or if someone needs help working through a task; team members can simply mobilize as needed without worrying about ‘breaking’ the plan. You’ll maximize each team member’s contribution and achieve the best possible result on your sprint goal by doing exactly what needs doing, just in time!  

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