Over the years I have had the pleasure of managing and leading many people across a wide range of job functions within software development companies.
The people who are a joy to manage are those that take on a task and then complete it within the time agreed without further reminding or micro-management (a basic principle of Project Management).
If they are unable to complete the task by the deadline then they will give plenty of notice so alternative arrangements can be made.
These people will normally progress well in their careers because they build a reputation that they can be relied upon, are well organised and basically self managed.
A busy Manager has one less thing to stress about because they are not concerned with chasing up people who are failing to complete their assigned tasks or failing to complete them on time.
Failure to do this often results in unhappy customers and disgruntled team members and has repercussions throughout the business.
To achieve this highly desirable work goal I suggest the following:
All team members have written job descriptions that clearly detail their roles and responsibilities and are aware of their daily “must do” tasks.
For the “big ticket tasks” team members are given the opportunity to analyse their own work loads and agree on the deadline.
Where there are major reasons why the deadline must be achieved, overriding existing priorities or timelines, the reasons why should be communicated clearly and the team members given the opportunity to raise their concerns or issues. If this is occurring regularly then the reasons need to be examined and better processes and project management put in place.
It is imperative that you communicate to your manager when a task is going to miss a deadline, as early as possible. Communicating after the event (or not at all) is unacceptable.
A review processes needs to be put in place to examine the reasons why tasks miss deadlines to ensure that any process deficiencies are improved or team members have the required level of training or proficiency to complete the tasks.
In addition to any company project management system employees need to be trained in personal time management and task management skills on a regular basis.
When I look back this is one of the traits (that I had to work hard at initially) that has immensely helped me in my own career.
I am sure it will do the same with yours.