I know that I am slow) Finally continued reading “Management 3.0″ by Jurgen Appelo. Chapter 7.
Creating software is easy. It’s like you are building a plane and they forgot to provide you the building materials and you have to install both wings on one side according to the specification but no one knows how to do it and the plane is already flying and they already sold 10x more tickets that you can put in the plane and suddenly the fire starts….
Ok, I worked too long as the project manager, so forgive me for being too optimistic. Let’s imagine you have a new project. That would be a great journey! Because this time EVERYTHING WOULD BE DIFFERENT. You wanted to be different this time, but ended up as usual…in the hell. So what is causing this permanent hell? I tried to point out the most obvious causes.
Just want to share one more chapter – “Management 3.0″ by Jurgen Appelo, Chapter 6.
Continue reading management books – this time “Management 3.0” by Jurgen Appelo. Chapter 5 on one page.
We all think that we are unique. Even when we make mistakes – they are unique. But it seems we are so predictable, that people already studied and classified all our epic fails – past and future ones. So it is very useful sometimes to read about the issues others suffered and compare yourself to the persons described – you definitely find something common. Project managers are not exceptions – you may think you are a smart project manager, but still you can follow some of the well known anti-patterns. I tried to collect the most common ones – which I built myself or observed in action. I found they fancy names on the internet and now I am prepared to use them in my speech, so I would look as smart as the developers talking about their architectural patterns.
I never had such an issue or was thinking about this topic during my PM career(Not because I was extremely respected by the developers. It was more like…I didn’t care.) But it seems to be an important question for a lot of Project managers. A good indicator of that is the interview question they keep asking you – “How can you get a team’s respect if you don’t have 10+ years of Haskell development experience???”. Looks like project managers really have some issues with respect…Sometimes I even think that developers treat project managers worse than QAs.. Oh my God, QAs!!! How that can be possible?
When I was introduced by the management by objectives during my first working day in one of the companies I worked as the project manager I was impressed – I was so keen on measuring and controlling everything. “It was something I read about in management books and now I will see how it works in the real life!” – that is how I was thinking. Guys told me that they successfully used MBO for all the departments, so I expected the great results in the next quarter…But smth went wrong. We tried to adjust and redefine the objectives next quarter, but it seemed impossible to win this game – each time we redefined the objectives the system and people somehow could hack it and we just could not keep up with that speed of “hacking” – our suggestions were not good enough each time.
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).
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?
Recently I came across the wonderful TED talk by Simon Sinek and his speech was like “I was thinking about the same thing!” to me. But he was brilliant summarizing it. It works for any company. We are not Apple, we are not selling computers, we sell services – software development services. But it works for our company too! I spent a lot of time talking to the top managers and hr department about “why”, but now I even have a respected source to mention and a great illustration to it. So I spent some time and went through exercise – how our company can use this.