Preface: This question is asking for a commonly accepted approach of managing specific aspects of a team (if such an approach exists).

As one of my tasks of leading a team of professionals, I have to assign tasks to them and have a general idea of which major tasks are approximately going to be tackled next by who and in what order.

In particular, I need to keep an overview of:

  • Who is working on which tasks?
  • For each of my team members, which tasks are next in line?
  • Which ones of these tasks are expected to be done in this week, next week, the week after next week?

I am looking for a way to have a visual overview of this information. I believe this is a very common situation for heads of small-ish teams. Therefore I wonder:

Is there a standard technique or notation to keep this kind of an overview?

Note that I am explicitly not asking for any concrete products that provide me with this overview, but for the (name of the) general approach, if any. Also, I am not looking for suggestions or various different solutions that may or may not be suitable. What I am asking is whether there is any commonly used approach to visualize the described information. That is, I could easily draft my own solution, but I do not want to reinvent the wheel if there already is a common standard approach for this kind of management task.

I think it would normally be some kind of a tabular notation. I have thought of and looked into Kanban, but it does not seem quite what I am looking for, as it focuses on items sequentially going through different process steps.

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    It's called job tracking – Kilisi Feb 3 at 1:09
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    A Gantt chart? (comments must be at least 15 characters in length.) – Stephan Branczyk Feb 3 at 1:57
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    @Chris: Not an issue. Team members can do different tasks differently well, so I cannot strictly go by priority, anyway. So, no, it's not a problem if a task (globally) queued first will finish later than others. – F-H Feb 3 at 7:22
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    Post-its on a board? Sorry but as a team-lead of professionals (in any industry), you should already know these things? Even if you got promoted to said job you would already know how the people you work with work? Even then though: scrum, agile, kanban, campfire, waterfall, micro-/macro-manager - what do you define as "commonly accepted approach of managing specific aspects"? "visual overview", so Gantt, epics, swimlanes, backlog... ? – rkeet Feb 3 at 7:58
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    @Chris: I mean that no matter what amount of training goes into it, a given team member will always be more efficient solving a follow-up task to something they did themselves than anyone else. But you raise a good point: Depending on workload and the situation, it is also quite possible that a task queued first will finish later than others because I assign it to a team member who may need more preparation to do it, but whose working on the task will increase the bus factor for the given topic. – F-H Feb 3 at 9:10

You're really just looking for a Kanban-style board with a ticketing system (i.e. JIRA, Trello, literally anything that'll let you move tasks around).

Kanban as a concept may not be exactly what you're looking for going by the dictionary definition, but it's definitely what you're looking for in terms of implementation.

You typically have 3 columns in a Kanban board:

  • New
  • In Progress
  • Done

This will easily let you manage who is working on what, in which order they're doing the tasks, and if the tasks are complete.

Which ones of these tasks are expected to be done in this week, next week, the week after next week?

This is a little more difficult. A common approach in software engineering is to split up the work into sprints. A sprint is an arbitrary stretch of time, typically one or two weeks, where each worker in a team is assigned a number of tasks they're expected to complete.

However, if you're looking for a longer timeline or if specifically this type of planning is most important to you, you want a Gantt Chart.

For example, both Trello, and Jira support Gantt charts for your workflow management.

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    "A sprint is an arbitrary stretch of time, typically one or two weeks, where each worker in a team is assigned a number of tasks they're expected to complete" If management doesn't care about realistic expectations that are regularly and reliably achieved maybe. Otherwise involve the team in deciding what is achievable, and what they can realistically take on and deliver. – Player One Feb 3 at 7:54
  • Sure, but that's a separate problem than the issue tracker the OP is asking for. Presumably, they already know how to actually manage a team and assign work in a realistic fashion. – maplebird Feb 3 at 17:57
  • @maplebird: Indeed - we do have an issue tracker (in the sense of a system storing a database of tasks, their employee assignment, status, etc.) in place, and I'm also "fully equipped" in terms of estimating the effort required for individual tasks and getting those estimates through to TPTB to ensure the team doesn't get unfeasably much work for the phase until the next release. But this phase is, basically, a "void" with a certain maximum capacity for planned efforts, which is fine - except for the very near future timeframe I mentioned, where I'd like to have an overview of the next ... – F-H Feb 3 at 20:18
  • ... two or three weeks. And again, it is fully sufficient to determine who is approximately going to work on what in which week, without any micromanagement on specific starting and finishing days for individual tasks. This last part is what I am missing, what I could easily draw up myself, but where I suspect there is already something like a widely accepted and known standard notation. – F-H Feb 3 at 20:20

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