How to manage team workload, track progress, and please your boss

Published by on September 8, 2014.

When I became a Product Manager in 2012, I ran into some big challenges:

  1. My boss kept asking me for progress reports. The only way I could get this information was to go interrupt a developer and ask them “How much work have we finished so far?”
  2. I had no way of tracking velocity. Once I knew our progress, my boss’ next question was: “What’s normal for our team? What’s a reasonable expectation for what we can get done in a week?”
  3. I didn’t know where we were spending our time. We were running a 10 year-old SaaS application; I couldn’t tell where our developers were spending most of their time. Was it on bugs? New features? Maintenance tasks?
  4. Managing team workload was a challenge. I couldn’t see who was overloaded, and who needed more work. Some developers were buried in tasks, but I didn’t know who I could shift those tasks to (without interrupting each developer and asking them).
  5. Customer support felt out of the loop. Our support staff felt like they didn’t have a way of participating in the development process (submitting bugs, offering comments). They also had no way of seeing what we were working on, or knowing what was done.

A few months later, I discovered an interview with Joe Stump on TWIST. Joe described how, through Sprintly, he was making the development process transparent for the whole organization.

I signed up and fell in love. Here’s why I loved it:

  1. It gave me a “development pulse”: how healthy were our current development efforts?
  2. Helped me report up (to my boss) and across the whole team
  3. Helped manage individual team member’s workload
  4. Helped forecast project completion

How I use Sprintly

Since then, I’ve recommended Sprintly to hundreds of managers. A lot of them were interested how I use the product, so I made this video:

Want to try Sprintly for yourself?

I was able to champion Sprintly internally by getting a trial, and running an experiment with our CTO. We used Sprintly in tandem with our other project software for 3-4 weeks; then we showed the CEO the information we were getting out of it (that’s what sold him). You can do this too: get a special 30 day free trial here.