Derik Whittaker

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If this is your manager, I feel bad for you

While re-reading 'Implementing Lean Software Develpoment - From Concept to Cash' I came across a line that I had forgotten completly about, but rings so true (at least to me).

The line is as follows:

'A project manager who mostly updates Gantt charts and tells people what to do probably adds little value to the team'

This line is in the context of what a 'leader' should be and a dictator is not of them.  If you have not read this book, I suggest you do.  It is a great read and just makes sense.

Till next time,


Posted 08-12-2008 10:31 AM by Derik Whittaker
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Comments

Peter Ritchie wrote re: If this is your manager, I feel bad for you
on 08-12-2008 11:43 AM

It depends on the organization.  Some organizations have light-weight project manages that don't really "lead" technically.

If the PM isn't supposed to be lightweight, then yes, they're not offering much value to the team.

If the PM is supposed to be lightweight, then they can offload some of the politics from the team.  It's the dev lead's (scrum master, technical lead, etc.) job to make sure this happens...

Nick Berardi wrote re: If this is your manager, I feel bad for you
on 08-12-2008 12:17 PM

I wish I could count how many times I had one of those managers, unfortunately I don't have enough fingers.

Lee wrote re: If this is your manager, I feel bad for you
on 08-12-2008 4:11 PM

@Nick: Perhaps one finger is all that's needed.

J.P. Hamilton wrote re: If this is your manager, I feel bad for you
on 08-13-2008 11:42 AM

@Lee

Totally

Gates VP wrote re: If this is your manager, I feel bad for you
on 08-13-2008 2:10 PM

@Peter: It depends on the organization.

I'm going to differ and here's why. Updating Gantt charts is in no way a useful task. In fact, as far as processes go, a Gantt chart should really be able to update itself.  

Assigning tasks is the same way.  The Gantt chart is supposed to encompass the tasks that need to be done and the people responsible for completing the tasks.

Think of it this way. Once the Gantt chart has been built, the project now has all of the required tasks and a complete timeline. I know what my tasks are. At the end of the day, I update the status or progress on these tasks and the Gantt chart should just update itself.  Stakeholders interested in the status of the project can look at the chart themselves or get a better formatted status report.

I'm not saying this is what actually happens, even if it should. What we're saying is that someone who spends *most* of their (expensive) time doing stuff for which a computer is better suited is not "adding value to the team".

Lightweight or not, you want project managers doing things like customer relations, reporting, quality control, training and change management. Updating task lists is a horrible way to spend time.

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