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.
Continue reading Late Autumn Essay: “Why each time we end up in software hell.”
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.
Continue reading Do Not Lose Your Face or PMs Guide to Tricky Questions: Why Use Fibonacci?
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.
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.
Continue reading Decision making chaos organizing techniques for Project managers
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.
Continue reading What Is Wrong With Management By Objectives?
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?”
Continue reading How to understand developers are really working hard: manager’s guide
Managers often ask me – “What should I do to increase our team velocity?” And the answer I give is very simple – “Just double the story points for each user story”. After that they usually smile and think I am joking. But I am serious, as usual.
Managers not only expect team to increase it’s velocity in this sprint, they expect team to continuously improve velocity. “Give me 10 story points increase each sprint!”. I also heard managers complaining that team has the same velocity for the last 7-10 sprints. We have this great metric – team velocity – for planning and budgeting. Going from sprint to sprint we collect the statistics and understand what amount of work team can do during the next sprints. But management is often too optimistic about this metric – they start measuring everything on base of velocity, even the team productivity.
Continue reading Increase My Velocity, Baby!
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?
Several months ago I joined the new for me project team. They have been working on this product for more than a year. You know what it means for the mobile project – we have a tons of code created) So, one of the most severe issues guys mentioned is the crappy code – developers told me that during the first retrospective we had. My first reaction was – “So why do you create this crappy code?”. But the answer was very easy for them – “We inherited that code from the previous team, they created all this awful things!”.
Continue reading Crappy code – keep your team happy
About two months ago I had a severe argue with one of our lead developers about ‘agile stuff’. After 15 min of listening to my enthusiastic speech his face became red and I could read “Woman, what do you know about the real life?” from it. And then he said the phrase I can’t forget: “And why do we need all of that? Why we can’t just collect our best architects and analytics and write down all requirements, describe models, create the ideal architecture, plan everything and then start development?”
Continue reading Where the miracle begins