Thursday, June 10, 2010

Things i wish my Project Manager can be like

Don't delegate ... if you can
Don't delegate your stuff to your underlings, first see if you can do them yourself, unless its really for the learning experience. Look deep into the reason why you are delegating, don't do it because you are lazy or afraid to do  Try to be the remover of impediments instead of being the impediment. Context switching while doing programming is expensive, in fact context switching between any task is expensive.

Try to understand the project technically. 

Having a overall picture of the system is a what a PM should have but if possible try to look at the code, understand whats new in the programming world. Understand terms like Web services, SOAP, REST, XSS, XRF, Sql Injection and what they actually mean instead of some high level definition. But it does pay off, imagine during stand up meetings when the developers are telling about what they did at least the manager have some understanding of where things are going, where the technical challenges are.

if your last programming effort was in the good old client server days, read up a book on enterprise patterns like service locator, DAOs and program abit. If possible see if there is some very low value function that takes little story points/mandays and try to implement, your developers will have a new found respect for you, and it cuts down the time after stand up meetings where you ask the developer what he meant when he said all that.

Be a people person

Face it you are now longer dealing with computers anymore, you are now mostly dealing with people, go learn how to deal with them, how to negotiate, motivate. Learn what makes them tick.

Most project managers are there because they are good programmers or good technical leads. Not many are there because they are great managers. Go read books/blogs about human behaviour and how to motivate them. So books that I liked are
Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us, Peopleware. Read books on leadership and management. All managers should make learning how to deal with people a top priority.

Wouldn't it be nice to have a PM that can fire you up and make you do your best ?

Look ahead and Take charge.
Managers can't anticipate all problems but it helps it you are looking out for them rather then hoping everything will go according to plan. Take charge when you need to, nothing is worse then having a boss who is indecisive. It affects the team if they are constantly having to put out fires all the time. 

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