This time I would like to share my personal collection of manager’s errors which I have been made (at first I wanted to write “errors which I came across” pretending that other managers made them and I only witnessed these stupid errors) for the last 7 years.
This week our PM intern asked me about the best way to write the project status reports. I like when interns ask me questions. I can spend one more working hour speaking about the question topic, work, clients, projects and the hard life of the project managers. If I am lucky I can get up to 7-8 questions per day, so I can be pretty busy with that hard work.
Are you happy on Monday morning? What about Friday evening? We all know how office workers are waiting for the Friday evenings… Because work is hard. Because there is no more joy. Really? How people who are not feeling good about their work can produce something great?
If you ask any of your colleague when they felt joy at work they probably tell you about some challenge they faced and successfully solved or brainstorming, where their team produced a great idea. Also they can point out the time when they worked with a great passionate team of developers. Even if they were creating “one more social network”.
Show me your burndown chart and I will tell you how the things are going. To be honest I am amazed how simple the things became for the project managers (does not depend whose hat PM is wearing now – scrum master, product owner) now – you need only a few metrics to be able to plan and forecast with the same success rate as it was previously. The burndown (I personally prefer burnup) chart is a very simple thing – easy to explain, easy to maintain. But it is a powerful instrument in the hands of the scrum master and the team.
We are all used to just implement the well-known “best practices”, not even thinking much about the reasons they were created. Especially in Agile. We like all those rituals, as they make us fill as we are going the right direction. Just follow the rituals and you’ll be ok.PMs/Scrum Masters usually hate all these clever questions from the sarcastic developers, as the only thing they can answer is – “It’s obvious, stupid!”.
You can’t even explain, why 🙂 I want to write several posts about the most frequent questions managers can’t answer, so you are prepared and next time your team mentions it – you brains can shine in full managerial glory. Also I will use levels of the answers complexity, so you can always adjust them to your current audience.
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?
As the project manager I often found myself in the situation when everyone was looking at me and waiting my decision. As they really thought I am an expert or I know what to do. So every project manager should know some facilitation techniques to help team produce the decision or ideas. Because the smartest thing PM can do – allow the people who are really good at thinking to think the problem over and find the decision (I am talking about the team). PM should be a good facilitator and have a list of hand-on practices to help the team.
What? Introvert as the manager? It can’t be true, you say. This will kill you in several weeks! But I can say that there is a successful strategy how to survive for more than several years, not weeks!
Find below my short guide for all project managers who are introverted, as I am.
Have you ever met the manager who is satisfied with the speed of development? I, personally, not. But sometimes it is even worse than just the speed…I had so many educational talks with the customers about the development work – why you can’t code 8 hours in a row and why sitting and staring at the wall or even playing table tennis can be a work too for the developer, as he is thinking over the issue during that time. Once one of the top managers entered my room shouting “They are not working! They are browsing Internet!!! What we can do with that?”