For the Software developer bestiary

The Work Hog

Quote: “Its quicker to write this myself than trying to explain it.

Also known as: “The Black Hole”, “The Workaholic

The work hog is often a very talented person, but can still be bad for your project. The work hog is aware of the fact that he can write or design things better than anyone else in the project, and he might be right, but it leads to the idea that nothing gets done unless he does it himself. Initially, you might not have a problem with this, but chances are that you’ll end up with one burned-out work hog and a lot of tasks that he was supposed to be working on left unfinished and undocumented.


Work hogs are experienced and talented people but they often have a low opinion of the skills of their colleagues. They are standard burn-out material, since they seldom realize their own limitations until it’s too late.


You would probably not want to remove a Work Hog from the project entirely since they usually have skills you cannot do without. Instead, try to define the scope of the hog’s activities so that there is a well-defined line between what he’s supposed to do and what other project members should take care of. If there is a discussion about the ability of other project members to deal with the assigned tasks, consider letting the Work Hog be a mentor for the more inexperienced staff members. It is also important to think twice before assigning a task to a known Work Hog, even if he says he can handle it. One or two tasks at a time should do it, and make sure you keep track on the progress.

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