Fixed price contract is by itself the greatest nightmare in the project manager’s life. But when it is combined with agile development frameworks – scrum/kanban/etc – it becomes also a tricky nightmare.
Usually, when clients ask you for “fix price” they mean: fixed money, fixed scope, fixed time. Some of the most reasonable clients I worked with on fixed price projects told me “We are not crazy! Let’s not fix the time! But we should be live till the 1st of June, we have this marketing campaign, you know…”
Even if you work in the “so agile” software development company there is the day when the sales manager comes to you and says: “Hi! We have a new project. I have a bad and a good news for you. The bad one is that it is fixed price, I know how you hate it. But the great one is that you can still your agile, client is ok with it”. So, let’s discuss what you, as PM, can do in this situation.
Continue reading Fixed Price Projects and Agile, or The Scariest Nightmare
There are thousand of posts for project managers about motivating their teams on the internet. While searching “Motivating Project Managers” I kept coming across the articles about the developers and how PM should behave. You can’t be a great PM without been a good motivator, so PMs are asked about the ways to motivate developers on every interview. But I think we miss some important item here – the motivation of the Project Managers. We assume that they are somehow already motivated and shine bright every day. Otherwise they can’t motivate the team, right? But no one cared about their motivation in software companies I know, they just required the managers to be “self-motivated”. We just don’t take that into account, as we don’t take into account that all our developers are not so brilliant as we think (and this is normal).
Continue reading Project Managers Motivation
Why I hear so often from developers that project managers they work with are the least educated and know next to nothing about the work their employees do? I can’t even decide who is the least respected by developers – managers or QAs. Of course, when I am talking to my teams I hear jokes only about QAs…But who knows what happens when I leave the room? 🙂
It seems that we constantly pass over qualified people for promotion and somehow get a lot of terrible idiot project managers. How that can be?
Continue reading Why there are so many jokes about Project Managers?
Development seems to be one of the slowest things on the earth – I hear so many complaints about it’s slowness every day. “Why we can’t do that in a day instead of a week?”, “We missed deadline because your developers are too slow, they should work faster!.”
Sometimes project managers think that the team they got is the slowest they can imagine. And they dream about making it 2 times faster (I mean “work 2 times faster”). But the fact is that there is a big chance the team is pretty average and managers don’t get the difference between “make the flow faster” and “make the team work faster”. They somehow think if the developers start typing 2 times faster everything would be fine with the schedule.
Continue reading Why developers are slow?
Browsing the open PM position vacancies you can find out that employers are looking for project managers who know how to code in just about every existing language (not let than 10+ years of experience) with several technical, not PM, certifications tossed in.
But is it necessary for the PM to be a technical guy? Seems that now almost every company has their own definition of the “project manager” – that can be anything from the pm-secretary to pm-software architect. But let’s use our common sense and find out why there are so many people who insist on PMs having a lot of development experience.
Continue reading How technical should a project manager be
That is seems to be the PMs nightmare – your developers are lying to you when they provide you the estimates. For the 1-hour task they give you 1-week estimation and spend the whole week watching youtube videos with cats. HAHAHAHA!!!
Are you already scared to death?
It also should be a rather common problem, as I often get such a question during the job interview. “Galina, what would you do if developer gives you the unrealistic estimations?”. They ask me and wait for some one-for-all-cases answer. Probably they expect me to say something like “I will double check all the estimates myself/with the other developer”. So I will be a kind of the PM auditor. And then they are definitely ready to ask – “And what if the other developer lies to you too”? Seems to be one global developer’s conspiracy. What one small PM can do against that?
My honest answer to all of that is: “I’ll resign ASAP, as I killed that team and should not do any more harm. Then I ‘ll walk outside the office and perform seppuku”.
Continue reading What if developers are [cheating] giving you the unreasonably high estimates?
I think every Project Manager knows how easily you can become flooded with the tasks. While developers can afford spending some time on the single task, PM has to switch between a lot of tasks during the single hour (some PMs think that they are multitasking, but it is not true :). Sometimes, in the end of the day I feel like I spent all my time on switching and dream about getting some task on which I can spend 3 hours in a row and not been distracted.
Developers usually say that while they work they fully wrap their mind around the task at hand, they create the “mental model” of the classes, methods, etc and they need some time to “get context loaded” when they start working with the task. They feel something like the “work stream”, so when they are distracted – it takes time to get back to it.
I should say, for me PMs work process is the same – I get to the office in the morning, sit in my chair and have so spend some time to “load mental model” of my projects: project details, people, relationships, todos, etc. Sometimes I do that on my way to work. I am not keeping all details in my head all the time – I unwrap this model when it is needed. The difference between the “work stream” of developer and the manager is that manager’s constants of “interruptions” – you have to think quick, make some decisions, answer questions and be always alarmed.
Continue reading Personal Kanban: my experience
I believe that Project manager is here, on this planet, not only for the projects to be delivered in time and on budget. On of the most important things for the Project managers is to care about their teams. In software development I always worked so close with the teams, that I couldn’t imagine I can avoid supporting teams health, mood and motivation.
So, let’s talk about monitoring your team health, so you can see the signs of the death coming or any feed back of the system on your actions. By the way, some Project managers prefer to work with zombie teams, as they are so easy to control. I am not judging, so you can use the check-list the both ways – to prevent your team becoming a zombie team and to make you team a zombie team.
Continue reading Zombie team management: team health check-list
You implemented Scrum, told project managers that they are now scrum masters, had the all-hands meeting where announced that you are agile now, wrote that you are Agile on your website, your sales managers say agile not less than 1 time in a minute when they talk to the customer, but… still something doesn’t work? You feel yourself like painting the wall white colour but still can see the black underneath? Do you recognize your company? I do) I feel like everyone are just “playing” agile, they do not “live” it.
Continue reading Agile Tooth Fairy and top barrier for Agile adoption
Several months ago I was leaving one of the best teams I worked with. I wanted to leave them something, that will help them coping with any issues they would have. That is when the idea of “Ideal Project Manager 1.0” came to my mind. Developers usually complain that PMs are doing nothing during the working hours, they are only telling everyone how they should work. I am close to this idea too, so I created this ultimately cost-efficient version of project manager which can 100% replace your PM. This PM works 24h/day, 7 days/week and can 100% replace the ordinary PM. Functionality includes all the good PM features – it provides you a piece of advice or direct command every time you have issue or task to solve.
So, I want to share with you this unique product, so it can help your teams too. Say hello “Project manager 1.0”!