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Part of my job as a manager is to manage workloads. I have 6 direct reports, and I'd like to keep track of roughly what is on everyone's plates. What methods do people use for this? Pen and paper? Excel? Some kind of management software? Should I just remember? What works best?

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  • Hi @Dave, welcome to The Workplace.SE. This question is not really the best for this site, since it is primarily opinion based, and SE likes questions where a best answer can be chosen on more than just a subjective basis. Having said that, though, I think it goes without saying that you should write it down instead of just trying to remember it. Use whichever tool works best for you: Paper, spreadsheet, OneNote, Evernote, LotusNotes (ugh), Memo app on mobile device, etc. You'll also need to review it regularly and talk to your team regularly.
    – Kent A.
    Jun 17 '15 at 21:09
  • @Kent: While it may be opinion-based, I think the answers will still be useful to me and to others. And I don't think it takes away from the community. But flag if you must.
    – Dave
    Jun 17 '15 at 21:29
  • You're essentially asking about project management software. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comparison_of_project_management_software
    – Bowen
    Jun 17 '15 at 21:50
  • I like trello, which allows you to keep a simple board of what everyone is up to,what needs doing etc etc. It's really about as complex or simple as you need it. (this is not an advert honest, I jus think it's really good for (at least) simple planning) Jun 17 '15 at 22:07
  • @Bowen, that list is HUGE! Have you used anything from that list? Any favorites?
    – Dave
    Jun 17 '15 at 22:47
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While it is really for the software development industry, have you considered using a modified form of Agile?

You can plan each iteration of work (for example two weeks) in a planning meeting at the start of the iteration. This way you KNOW what people are working on, can track their progress and everyone has visibility of what the rest of the team is working on! :)

You then run daily 15 minute meetings in the morning each morning. Everyone has a maximum of two minutes to tell you what they did yesterday, what they are working on today and any roadblocks they have.

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    Sorry, I really feel the need to comment. Stand ups and planning are a good idea here, fine. However, agile isn't just a software thing. Some types, like xp, are, but others, like scrum, take pains to be more general applicable to both technical and non-technical teams. Also, agile is about embracing change and empowering people. Stand ups and frequent planning are useful artifacts of this, but not remotely agile when done in isolation. Other than that, good suggestions. Jun 17 '15 at 22:05
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    @NathanCooper I probably didn't express it as well, but yes Agile can be applied to many different contexts, not just to development. In fact my current role we use it in a non-software development environment :)
    – Jane S
    Jun 17 '15 at 22:47

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