2004 Starts Off Inauspiciously

Well, here I am on an unseasonably warm Saturday in January, at work.

Oh, and more soldiers have been killed in Iraq in what look like continuing attacks. Sure, I mean, that is much more tragic and important by comparison to me working over the weekend, but that’s not what has me pissed off.

What has me pissed off is that the reason why I’m working on a weekend was preventable. Generally, the only way you can avoid being attacked in Iraq is not to go there. Others have hashed that issue over many times, and I have nothing new to add. So it’s project management instead.

I’m going to start a series of posts on what I, as a programmer, value in a good project manager. It’s sad, but I think your average programmer has a much better appreciation of what it takes to be a good project manager than project managers have of what it takes to be a good programmer. I don’t claim to be the world’s greatest programmer, but, let’s face it, I was the one chosen for this weekend delight because I’d managed to get my projects done ahead of time. So I have at least some businessworthy skills.

I do this in hopes that maybe a project manager looking on the Web for info outside of the brain-dead Project Mangement press (5 Easy Ways to Use PowerPoint to Impress Your Boss! Unsatisfied in Meetings? 6 Ways to Know If You’re a Meeting Whiz or Fizz! 7 Ways to Seduce Your Intern!). I’ve seen what our management reads, and it’s like the playing sheets for Buzzword Bingo. Obviously, they’re not getting sufficient help from it, so this will be my contribution.

The purpose of this post, however, is just to gripe. I’m trying not to think about how I could be in the mountians right now. At least it’s not sunny…

2 thoughts on “2004 Starts Off Inauspiciously

  1. You might want to start by riffing on the stuff Joel Spolsky has written on the subject — he’s got several insightful articles on the topic of managing technical teams:

    * Command and Conquer and the Herd of Coconuts: http://www.joelonsoftware.com/articles/fog0000000072.html
    * Big Macs vs. the Naked Chef: http://www.joelonsoftware.com/articles/fog0000000024.html
    * Human Task Switches Considered Harmful: http://www.joelonsoftware.com/articles/fog0000000022.html
    * Don’t Let Architecture Astronauts Scare You: http://www.joelonsoftware.com/articles/fog0000000018.html
    * The Iceberg Secret, Revealed: http://www.joelonsoftware.com/articles/fog0000000356.html

    Alternately, just lock them in a room and refuse to feed them or let them out until they’ve read Peopleware (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0932633439/ref%3Dnosim/joelonsoftware/102-8516009-4188105) and The Mythical Man-Month (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0201835959/qid=1073167330/sr=2-1/ref=sr_2_1/102-8516009-4188105). That should at least help πŸ™‚


  2. I’m positive some of them have read MMM, but it’s not helping.

    There are things that are even simpler than what Joel proposes that are done wrong, and done wrong FREQUENTLY. Absolute basics, even among people who should theoretically know better.

    I also have problems with the writer from his company, Fog Creek Software which produces the perfect product, FogBUGZ, and whose lessons on management come from the same Microsoft who claim to all have brilliant programmers who Get Things Done, but somehow manage to ship late, buggy, and insecure. πŸ˜‰

    The other thing is, much of what is written as advice are what NOT to do, and I hope to have some positive characteristics that make managers good, as opposed to that which makes them bad.


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