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Pawel Brodzinski on Software Project Management

Where Is the Problem?

You probably hear that a lot. Each time a project is late or something is wrong with feature range or quality isn’t good enough. Who should be asked? A project manager or a tech lead or someone else who fulfills a leading role in the project. Where is the problem? Why it doesn’t goes like it’s been planned?

Personally I’m now on both sides of the question. I’m asked that by the board but I point the very same question at project managers and team managers. Since I talk with people on different levels of organizational structure it’s less likely I’d accept easy answers.

Maybe it is a developer who’s responsible for below-average quality of last update but maybe his goals weren’t stated clearly. Maybe you can blame tech lead for late delivery of the code but maybe she hadn’t enough tools to actually lead the team. Maybe PM’s low performance is a reason for overrunning a schedule but maybe he had no chance to meet them no matter how hard he tried.

If you dig deep enough answers for most questions can be found in managers’ area of responsibility. Usually each underperformance can be justified with some organizational issues which are left alone until small problems become big problems.

The role of managers is to deal with sources of problems. When you’re late with the project overstaffing won’t be an answer. When you struggle with quality they aren’t quality engineers who are to blame. The problem probably is within the environment which doesn’t support strongly enough focusing on quality or doesn’t bring down enough accountability for on-time deliveries.

Unfortunately changing organization won’t be very popular. It neither gives quick results nor points people to blame. It’s not the easy answer, yet I believe the right one.

in: communication

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