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Ask Slashdot: How To Gently Keep Management From Wrecking a Project?

timothy posted about 2 years ago | from the flying-car-is-easier-goal dept.

Businesses 276

New submitter miserly_content writes "I work in a large, hierarchical technology company. I have been developing technical specs for a new strategic and challenging software project, and the project is slowly gathering steam and support. This is already a career building success for me, and everyone acknowledges my technical capabilities. But the program manager is an MBA-type, and wants to bring in new multiple team leaders and consultants. This is not really a surprise, but I feel we are sliding towards a too-many-chiefs-too-few-indians scenario, especially at this early stage. How can I pitch upper management about this issue, without appearing selfish or disruptive? What positive approach can I try with the PM, with whom I have a good working relationship?"

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first post (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42369559)


Re:first post (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42369627)


No, they were selling t-shirts.

solve your problem small (5, Insightful)

edmudama (155475) | about 2 years ago | (#42369561)

In these situations, I think you have to solve this problem as small as possible, with the program manager themselves. Figure out what that person feels isn't being delivered or executed on, and make sure you address that manager's needs.

Escalating around the chain of command doesn't usually work in these scenarios, especially if you're relatively new.

Re:solve your problem small (2)

Anonymous Brave Guy (457657) | about 2 years ago | (#42369589)

In these situations, I think you have to solve this problem as small as possible, with the program manager themselves.

Exactly. If there's a good working relationship with the PM, an honest and open conversation with them about why these recommendations/decisions are being made is almost certainly the best place to start.

Re:solve your problem small (5, Insightful)

beelsebob (529313) | about 2 years ago | (#42369755)

Yep, this can be applied to almost all cases where you don't understand why someone is doing something, or why someone is arguing for something that you don't want.

Rather than going to them and saying "don't do that, it's idiotic", go to them and find out *why* they want those things. Then explain the reasons you don't want them, and come to the solution that satisfies both sets of needs.

It amazes me how few people are able to do this, and instead bang on and on about how their solution is the one true solution without ever understanding all the competing needs.

Re: solve your problem small (4, Insightful)

rgbe (310525) | about 2 years ago | (#42370051)

I agreed with all the parent posts. Don't escalate without having discussed it with the program manager.

See it from their perspective, they also want what is best for the project. They want to ensure the project is on time and on budget... and a success. So you need to explain how your approach is better and how it will lead to a successful approach. A program manager will often do this because they don't understand the product/solution being developed. So explain what a good set up would be and why, and include examples of where this has worked for you before.

Also be aware that you may not get your way. Create a strategy for this situation. Ensure that you are in a position lead the technical piece. Ensure you have your ass covered when the shit hits the fan due to the PMs approach by documenting your approach.

First I would take the verbal approach with the PM. They may take a lot of talking to. Then if you think you have resistance follow up with and email. The email does not need to be pages, just short and sweet. Explain your position with 3 or 4 points, and how it would lead to a successful project.

Re:solve your problem small (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42370143)

You're in a difficult situation. I tell you how we dealt with this scenario successfully in my organization. We had a project manager who I originally wanted to be closely involved in the production process only to realize he intended to take over the management of our entire program. Well, that wasn't going to happen because we owned the development part of the project and had no use for him.

We stopped CC'ing him on all emails regarding the development project. Every time he had his name added to the CC list we removed it.

He went to his bosses boss (my boss through a different chain of command) to complain. He looked petty. I explained to my boss that his role was to assist with projects once they were in the production phase. With this particular project we were working on development which was outside his purview of expertise - which he readily admitted because he was not an engineer. Including the PM in the process would just increase paperwork and increase costs with no value add. My boss agreed.

He quit about two weeks later. Actually, he didn't even give notice. One day he just stopped showing up for work. Went to work for a competitor which is now bankrupt.

Perhaps there's a strategy hidden in this story depending on your situation: pigeon hole him into a very confined domain where he can actually be helpful to the project. If his career aspirations and ego outweigh his ability he will leave soon.

Re:solve your problem small (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42370441)

define: open mind

Re:solve your problem small (2)

Nuitari The Wiz (1123889) | about 2 years ago | (#42370109)

Escalating is probably not going to help, and in most likeliness will hurt your career at that company.

1. This could be an opportunity for you to climb the ladder so to speak, even becoming one of the chiefs. At some point you'll need to angle things to become chiefs-of-chiefs between the other chiefs and your PM. However make sure the project can succeed with the setup, otherwise you'll get the blame.

2. You could also try to stay an indian, but that might mean you get canned with the rest of the team if the project goes wrong.

3. Transfer to another department if possible.

Consider the other side (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42370119)

Sometimes there are more use cases, and more stakeholders, than you realize. Your skill as a technician doesn't automatically mean you know enough about the business needs to ensure that you meet them. The same can be true of technical needs, despite your skill and knowledge. I have worked with young developers who had an excellent core engine that they wrote in their spare time and were declaring ready for production, but upon review it became clear that there were a few serious security holes and also some scalability issues. It would have worked fine for the first few clients, but once the load increased we would have been up the creek without a paddle.

Maybe these are true of your project, and maybe they are not. But your manager, being not a technician himself, has no way of making this determination. The only way he can be sure that your project is actually production-ready is to solicit some involvement from other, already-proven technicians.

I understand how frustrating that can be, because I have exactly been there myself. And I have been on the other side of that table as well. As interested as you are in seeing your shining vision be made manifest your way, the fact is the business you want to serve absolutely must exercise due diligence on behalf of their clients. You must let your pride take second seat to that.


Re:solve your problem small (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42370135)

Totally agree. You need to keep the high ground - flag the risks of that strategy, and in particular why that sometimes works, but, from experience, this project has different characteriscs which would result in deadline slippage and eventual failure. Talk about the agility and clarity of smaller groups, and how splitting the project into smaller deliverable functional point will prove things are work. Talk about IBM's The Mythical Man Month and point out that since then few projects have ever just thrown extra bodies at a problem, as it just slows things down and reduces communication.
Mention gettings rooms big enough for having everyone in a meeting, or the fact that people would need to attend multiple meetings with smaller groups instead of working. Talk about accountability, and ask if he'd be worried with one person not being a 'team player' and not delivering a key piece before launch - wrecking 'our' project (because it's as much his and yours).
FUD - in you case you think it's reasonable FUD, and highlighing it, and better yet pointing out that you think that will result in 'X' and 'Y' problems (use things like slippage, which could be likely anyway, but would prove you were 'right' quickly)
Remember the PM and you just want this to be a success, and as you're unlikely to actually be working for the same higher manager, there is plenty of kudos to be handed down.
Nobody on the top table ever just congratulated the PMs for good work, so remember that his wanting more kudos may be countered by his actions resulting in project failure - which would be down to him in isolation, and not good for his career.....

Re:solve your problem small (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42370195)

Also, go inside yourself to find out why your feel this way. Is there maybe some insecurity or something else there that makes you fearful of the direction that the PM is going? I'm not talking about fears that the organization will screw it up, but fears about where you would fit in if the team grows, or that there are hidden gotchas that you know about in the design that will come back and bite?

PM is right until you're done this (4, Insightful)

raymorris (2726007) | about 2 years ago | (#42370355)

I wish I had my mid points beach that I used yesterday because this is far more useful than any other comment. Until you understand his reasoning, not just hear it but understand it, the PM is probably doing the right thing. In other words, the OP is most likely wrong. Of two people disagree, there is a 50/50 chance each is wrong. Except here we have a programmer disagreeing with a project manager about project management. Most likely, the PM knows their job better than you do. (Just as the programmer knows their own job.) Until you truly understand what they are doing and why, and can then with full understanding disagree, you're just bring arrogant. Go talk to them. First understand them, then make your concerns clear.

You can't (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42369565)

Just give it up. The only way this isn't get in shit by the medelers on is if you pull something like this:

Re:You can't (1)

ios and web coder (2552484) | about 2 years ago | (#42369709)

I remember when this guy gave his demo at ATG Night at the WWDC.

He used a tablet to demonstrate it, and he got a standing ovation.

CYA (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42369571)

Your manager is covering his ass. Inserting layers of management between you and him so when/if things to go wrong, he can scapegoat consultants and team leaders.

Re:CYA (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42369821)

indeed. There's nothing you can do.

Re:CYA (1)

rtb61 (674572) | about 2 years ago | (#42370009)

You also left out the bit where the manager takes credit for all the work done by consultants and team leaders while actually doing nothing much at all. Interfering with this will run you head first into corporate politics, likely the manager is far more competent at getting promoted than at actually doing anything, as such will seek revenge for upsetting the modus operandi, blame others for failure and take credit for all successes.

Re:CYA (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42370049)

Might be the beginning stages of offshoring.

Re:CYA (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42370125)

In addition he is growing his position and padding his CV. It may be that rather than growing the numbers his way you could propose an alternate structure of growth in the project that achieve the same goals he intends as well as helping the actual project.

The main problem is that if you try to understand their position through a process of asking questions and delivering alternatives based on the answers given you'll miss the mark by a mile. MBA spend their time in education learning to be the corporate equivelant of the most annoying women you have every met. You've either got to seduce, bully or pimp them to gain any control and even then it will be temporary.

Re:CYA (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42370415)

Yup, I work for one of these clowns. Guy can't take a shit without hiring a consultant to "own the project."

Jay, I'm looking at you.

Do Nothing (1, Insightful)

gigne (990887) | about 2 years ago | (#42369577)

ot at the very least very little. Have a water cooler chat to the MBA type. Explain what you want.
I know it is your baby and you don't want to lose it, but business is business. It will either work or it won't. No point making too much noise.

Just give up (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42369579)

...and quit

Leave the company, go to a smaller one (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42369581)

Or maybe start your own (obviously that would more than just a technical challenge).

If your boss is a dick it's not going to work, unless you are much better connected in the company than he is. What's more, he's going to take all the credit if it succeeds, and blame you if it tanks. If you go over his head, it will just make him redouble his efforts to take the thing away from you. His bosses may have misgivings, but they'll conclude that the hierarchy needs to be respected, at least for the time being (i.e. too long as far as you and your project are concerned).

I've seen this movie before.

The solution to your problem (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42369583)

is next to the lost Ark in a warehouse.

Cheap Fast Good (1)

cultiv8 (1660093) | about 2 years ago | (#42369585)

You can only get 2 of the 3 on any project. The more cooks in the kitchen, the less likely you will get the project done fast or cheap. Management should understand the value of meeting deadlines and budget. :)

Re:Cheap Fast Good (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42369897)

The more cooks in the kitchen, the less likely you will get the project done fast or cheap. ... so the more likely it will be good? :)

Sigh (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42369587)

I know exactly what you mean.
Unfortunately, your boss will do whatever he wants to do.
If he sniffs a success in the making, he will make sure it's got his name on it, not yours.

All you can do is very quietly point out the risks to the project.
Sounds like you will have all the usual ones. Read any article on "project failures" and you will see them listed.
Things like undermanning, lack of stakeholder support, consultants making off with valuable knowledge etc.
Then provide suggestions to mitigate.

Print out the email and any reply forthcoming and keep it in a lead lined box.

You've served your purpose... (1)

namgge (777284) | about 2 years ago | (#42369597)'s time to start pitching for jobs elsewhere while 'your' project still has the potential to be a raging success.

Re:You've served your purpose... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42369679)

This is a very good idea. This way you are keeping your options open.
At the same time, try to knife the MBA (More Bloody Arseholes) manager in the back. If he suceeds in screwing the project up (esp in timescales) then you can wave bye-bye and let HIM sort out the mess. A nice letter explaining it all to his boss when you depart and you can leave with your head held high.

Personally, I think that the more people that start out on an MBA the better. I did and soon realised that I wasn't an MBA kinda person. However I learned a lot of valuable skills in how to deal with their crazyness.
As a techy, I don't put my MBA on my resume/Cv. I did once and all I was offered were jobs that I was totally unsuited for or didn't want in a million years. Sure there was a lot more money but I'm a crap manager and I know it.

Maybe you are wrong (5, Insightful)

drinkmoreyuengling (2768737) | about 2 years ago | (#42369605)

One of the problems with taking your position is you might be wrong. I know it's popular on /. to trash anyone with a business degree as a know nothing douchebag, but sometimes perspective outside of the core engineering effort can pay dividends. Instead of trashing the guy and trying to go over his head to torpedo his job, try working with him. You might be surprised what happens if you take a constructive tone.

Re:Maybe you are wrong (3, Funny)

Alex Belits (437) | about 2 years ago | (#42369667)

I know it's popular on /. to trash anyone with a business degree as a know nothing douchebag, but sometimes perspective outside of the core engineering effort can pay dividends.

Managers who can't rise up by replacing ones above themselves, try to rise up by hiring more flunkies under themselves to crack the whip at. This is an equivalent of cancerous growth in organization, and the reason why middle management is often incompetent.

About "M.B.A." (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42369887)

MBA programs are full of pseudoscience and hard-science envy. Most of that social science crap is about dumbing-down things so that they nicely fit into a simpleton math theory. Worker qualification and experience cannot be "measured", so it is ignored. Workers are slaves who must be replaceable any time just like capital goods. MBA theory hates every expert who cannot be replaced quickly and cheaply, because it threatens the power position of the social science people.

See the sorry state of the nation that invented "MBA". Compare that to a nation led by engineers which propelled itself from crapbin to #2 in 30 years time. See the sorry state of M$ and compare that to Google or Apple. A unique person like Steve Jobs does not fit in their dumb-down pseudo-science theories. "A good manager can manage anything" is their motto, because that is the basis of POWER. And that is what they want - power at all cost for THEM.

Let's wait and see how the dominance of the social science crappers works out for the western world. So far, the future looks very dark with pitchforks, Guillotines and more on the horizon.

Re:About "M.B.A." (1, Offtopic)

MightyYar (622222) | about 2 years ago | (#42370103)

Jobs was very susceptible to pseudo-science. He even delayed his treatment due to it.

Re:About "M.B.A." (5, Interesting)

catchblue22 (1004569) | about 2 years ago | (#42370289)

Amen. Read Voltaire's Bastards [] . I read it when it came out in the 90's, and over time I have become increasingly convinced of its accuracy. In essence, MBA's and their simplistic ideologies are driving our civilization into the ground.

Steve Jobs? (1)

tommeke100 (755660) | about 2 years ago | (#42370393)

I was drinking the cool-aid, until you mentioned Steve Jobs :)
Not really an engineer, was he?

Re:About "M.B.A." (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42370427)

Workers are slaves who must be replaceable any time just like capital goods.

Are you saying every worker is so special that no generalizations can be made that might be--on the average--true?

Re:Maybe you are wrong (5, Insightful)

Tyler Durden (136036) | about 2 years ago | (#42369923)

Sorry, but I'm thinking that the subject line of your post is beyond the comprehension of the average Slashdot poster.

Re:Maybe you are wrong (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42370253)

+1 !!!

Re:Maybe you are wrong (1)

greg1104 (461138) | about 2 years ago | (#42370213)

When someone's reaction to building software is "bring in new multiple team leaders and consultants" without input from the current tech lead, then, yes, they are a know nothing douchebag.

Project roles (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42369615)

This is I affraid just in hands of PM. New team leaders and consultants can kill any project, no matter how well it performs. PM should explain the risk to program manager and argue with "Silver bullet" argument - adding more people to the project increases communication overhead and causes delays.


Stay focused on goal (1)

Stirling Newberry (848268) | about 2 years ago | (#42369631)

Your job is to promote your career, find a niche to do that in the new order. The exec is now working on getting his cred, and that means having more people to manage.

Re:Stay focused on goal (3, Insightful)

tokencode (1952944) | about 2 years ago | (#42369751)

This is right on point. Who cares as long as management is happy? One of the biggest mistakes developers can make is being too idealistic about a project. It's easy to get caught up in something you're developing but unless it's your company or you own the project, sometimes it's best just to do what is asked. If you know it will fail, just make sure you have a solution readily available when it does.

Re:Stay focused on goal (1)

Stirling Newberry (848268) | about 2 years ago | (#42369909)

Fluidity is important. The OP made progress on their career by breaking technical ground, now the challenge is to become a valuable member of the team, communicating the key principles of the design work to date. "No question of technical skills" is code for "we don't want you managing."

Three rules (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42369649)

Put all of the project management records in a tool or data set they're not using. Give them only aggregate data.

Stop inviting them to meetings.

Don't use corporate e-mail.

Re:Three rules (4, Insightful)

dreamchaser (49529) | about 2 years ago | (#42369901)

Put all of the project management records in a tool or data set they're not using. Give them only aggregate data.

Stop inviting them to meetings.

Don't use corporate e-mail.

Three good ways to get fired.

Beaurocracy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42369659)

Tell them some stories about microsoft and how their corporate culture dropped share prices fifty percent.

do nothing (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42369691)

There is very little you can do; this is standard procedure. This person is trying to build their kingdom. You main goal is to not let them create more work for you since all these kinds of people do is create fictitious work. You will need to find a way to work around these barriers and ignore the nonsense without making enemies. I would give only positive feedback on the things that are useful to the project, and give no feedback (certainly no negative feedback) on anything that disrupts your work.

Project business plan/budget? (2)

MichaelPenne (605299) | about 2 years ago | (#42369711)

I like large projects to have their own business plan- with resource costs (staff, office, etc.), and budget, and expected operating margin for the project as the resulting product/products are sold. Ideally inclide marketing and sales commission costs. This is a big deal to developer, but one of the benefits is that one can show to upper mgt. The effects of overstaffing on the margins. Also a good business plan would include the reason for all project roles, for all the people on the project (since their salaries all subtract from the profit margin). Then with a formal plan its much harder for an inexperienced manager to pad the resources for some pointy haired reason of his/her own as he/she should need to justify the reduced margins, etc.

A large technology company with 'too few indians'? (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42369725)

Does such a thing exist?

Re:A large technology company with 'too few indian (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42369971)

I wish I could mod you funny

As A Boss... (5, Insightful)

ios and web coder (2552484) | about 2 years ago | (#42369733)

I feel a large part of my job is to stay out of the way of my developers.

However, we are part of a much larger, ISO-9001 process machine, so it is very difficult to remove the process overhead.

I try to take on as much as I can, so the engineers don't have to weather it, but the process demands that they all have their part checking boxes and attending meetings.

The good thing about a process-driven organization, is that everyone knows exactly who will be sticking their nose in, where, and when. You can't just stuff extra clowns into the car whenever you feel like it.

Re:As A Boss... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42370013)

Strange. A person who's saying something reasonable who also uses a power-hungry label like "boss".

Re:As A Boss... (1)

MightyYar (622222) | about 2 years ago | (#42370137)

I have a boss - most people do. I've never found the term offensive... "overseer" would be more offensive.

Re:As A Boss... (5, Insightful)

ios and web coder (2552484) | about 2 years ago | (#42370281)

<sigh />


You guys have absolutely no clue at all. It's amazing how we project these cartoon personalities onto others. That's what I mean about our "digital avatar" culture.

And yes, I am the boss, but I also have a boss, and they have a boss, etc. ad nauseam. I'm fairly low down on the food chain, and don't really have any ambitions to go higher. I'm extremely happy where I am.

HINT: It's really not a good move to have a knee-jerk reaction to authority, once you leave High School. As a manager for almost twenty years, I've learned the other side of that coin. I think a lot of managers go through their careers scared half to death. I think we make very bad decisions when we are scared. That's one reason I'm not in a huge hurry to travel up the food chain.

I have to eat poop, once in a while, but I have learned that my boss has to do it even more than I.

It's a very, very good idea to learn empathy. I see very little of it displayed in the posts, here, and that means that many of us don't play well with others.

In today's world, very few individuals make the product. Pretty much everything is made by teams. These teams are comprised of these annoying things called "other people."

We can choose to project cartoon-simple avatars onto these folks, and suffer the inevitable results when the real person won't fit the avatar, or we can actually try to figure out and understand these other people.

That doesn't mean that we need to accept and co-sign their crap. Our (American) culture has an unfortunate propensity to equate "understanding" with "condoning."

Big mistake.

If you want to learn basic things about rats, talk to an exterminator.

Don't go above your manager (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42369767)

Whatever you do, do NOT go above your manager. It never ends well. And don't ask me how many times I've learned this lesson, but at the time I didn't care. Bosses are usually more clever, savvy, political, and better at justifying their tenuous position. They will always crucify you, no matter how good you are. Unless the boss is doing something literally criminal or otherwise worthy of employment termination, just don't do it.

Re:Don't go above your manager (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42370059)

Usually this is how it goes:

You try to go to upper management, and no matter how good your stuff is, even if you can break up the problem into Powerpoint slides and charts with a large pop quotient, the higher-ups promptly tell you to stop trying to go above your PHB's head, and then notify the PHB about the attempt.

Things will only go downhill from there. Middle management tends to not be able to do much, but they can hold their jobs, and they are extremely adept at firing people, because there is always the uber-cheap H-1B that is their Holy Grail. Trust me, if there is one thing they are good at, it is lying, and because they are the only ones who see how the technical people are functioning, their word is law.

Best bet is to either tell the PHB why all the added people are not necessary, or if that isn't the case, start updating your resume and be ready to jump, since we all know how the coda plays.

What matters is how you win (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42369771)

Be clear on what success looks like for you, both personally and project wise. Set your self up to achieve that success and look out for pitfalls. Make sure you aren't setting success as overall project success. It sounds like that's delegated to someone else and while you should do your best to see them succeed, they may run this thing into the ground. Make sure you can be successful with or without the project succeeding.

Fight fire with fire (3, Funny)

Chemisor (97276) | about 2 years ago | (#42369801)

Go to your program manager's boss and ask to him to assign more program managers to the project. Once the PM finds out what that's like he'll never suggest such a thing again.

Start with the PM (3, Insightful)

DarthVaderDave (978825) | about 2 years ago | (#42369813)

Constructively find out what your PM wants from these other types. You don't hire new people unless you're getting rid of the old ones or there's more work to do. If he won't tell you with a straight up question you have a problem. Whether you face it right then or not is up to you. So, Is it something that you're supposed to be doing? IF you're not , fix that. If that's not it & it's something you didn't think of, find out how you're supposed to play with these new players.

shotguns (0)

ftfsis (2681207) | about 2 years ago | (#42369841)

'nuff said.

Building Empires (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42369843)

My experience: in large, hierarchical technology companies, managers are measured by the number of folks they manage. And if they manage managers and leaders, they get rewarded more. Thus empire building begins. MBA-types are particularly prone to falling into that pattern.

Several good suggestions have already been made around having heart to heart talks with the "MBA-type" and creating a Project plan and budget to justify a flatter organization. And when you have done that, you will have to make a decision if those recommendations are not taken: Do you stay with the project and see it through to fruition or do you move on to the next place/project? If you decide to stay on, then your next step would be to learn "leading from behind" skills. Meaning: There are ways to influence projects when you have accountability/responsibility for the project but not authority. Read up on the topic.

Pitching upper management is the same as going over your project manager's head. Never a good idea. Officially. Unofficially, establishing relationships with upper management and subtly keeping apprised on the state of the project is always a good idea. So long as you're not doing it in official meetings that get recorded.... (ie: hallway/lunch room/etc conversations are ok.) In the interest of transparency, it's also a good idea to let the PM know about the chats, in a casual kind of way.... And remember that this is about sharing information not making the PM look bad. (There's a case to be made for making the PM look good, but that's a topic for another day.)

Don't tell them (1)

girlintraining (1395911) | about 2 years ago | (#42369851)

I'm totally serious. If you truly feel that whatever project you're working on can benefit the company and there's people and politics in the way, do it but don't tell anyone. Work on your own until you have something usable. Because the thing is, it's easy to shoot something down when it's on the drawing board. They'll say it isn't possible. They'll add all kinds of requirements that aren't necessary and put everyone over your shoulder. It'll implode on the launch pad and make no mistake: That is the goal of many of the people you're talking to.

If you want to win, don't tell them. It's easier to ask forgiveness than permission, and while you won't win any friends from the fillibuster crowd, I've found that good managers will find ways to reward you without becoming enmeshed in the politics. That said... don't get caught until it's ready, and don't let it leak out to anyone what you're doing. You have to get a workable solution on the table to have a chance with these people, even if it's just a shell. And don't go crazy -- minimal implimentation only. The rest you can develop later. Right now, you need to give your supporters some ammo, and nothing says "Let's do this" like a working solution on the table compared to their steaming piles of nothingness to reply with.

In the world of business, I've found you never ask for permission -- you do it, then build a case for continuing to do it once you've proven the benefits of doing what you weren't doing until they found out you'd been doing it all along. It's ass backwards, but then... so is the world of business.

You're screwed (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42369885)

If this person was actually good at their job you wouldn't be in this situation in the first place. Unfortunately I find that managers often feel (and their bosses do as well) that they need to be shown doing work in addition to the actual line workers (read: engineers, designers, testers, and so on). The only ways they know how to do this are metrics and meetings. So they pick an arbitrary metric like sprint velocity and compare two teams against each other on a nice shiny dashboard the execs can look at and nod their heads in agreement, failing to understand the relative nature and value of that metric. Or they track hours to make sure that every engineer is working at least eight hours a day, because as long as they log an acceptable amount of hours, progress is being made, right?

And the damn meetings. Four hour affairs that drag in everyone under the sun so "everybody knows what's going on and has input," except what it really does is divest anyone of actual responsibility and makes it seem like management is getting work done. "We had meetings over the last few weeks with all the major stakeholders." All the while preventing any actual work from getting done. All for the sake of appearance of work from people who should be getting things out of your way, not putting more roadblocks in your way.

My advice is to find some part you really want to work on so at least you might learn something from this mess. Failing that, find a work cadence that you enjoy and stick to it. Don't let these people eat into your precious free time because they committed themselves (read: you) to an unreasonable and unachieveable deadline. When they ask you "Can you please work late for the next six weeks and come in on the weekends so we can finish on time?"

"No, sir, I can't. I have a doctor's note explaining that I'm allergic to bullshit. Sorry about that."

Specs are career building? (4, Interesting)

BitZtream (692029) | about 2 years ago | (#42369895)

WTF? I have a distinct feeling you think far more of yourself than you are actually worth. Gathering specs makes a career now? I don't think so.

Perhaps you don't actually know as much as you think you do and someone else realizes the project may be a fuckton bigger than you realize?

The fact that you're asking 'how do I play well with others' on slashdot leads me to believe you're just a young whipper-snapper that doesnt' really realize how small of a part you have to play.

You certainly are arrogant enough.

Work with your PM & you will both go a long wa (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42369927)

I am a Program Manager that's worked for a number of leading global companies delivering multi-million $ global IT projects over the last 15 years.

Part of my role is building relationships and facilitating collaboration to achieve success - not just of the projects but also of the individuals on my projects. Both are very important to me and usually the companies I work for and with e.g. suppliers, SIs, customers, etc.

Have a good conversation with your PM, I'd suggest go for lunch/coffee so you've longer to talk. I've used 'him' below so apologies if its a 'her' ;-)

Tell him;

How much the project means to you and what you've put in personally so far.
What the possible successes are - not just of this project but what it could lead to for your company, your customers, etc.
Show him your plan for what the tasks are, when they will be done and who will do them. If you can build a basic time line/table in a spreadsheet showing what will happen by day/week/month. If your using Agile then show the sprints, etc. If you know/learn how to build a basic Gannt chart in MS Project or a spreadsheet - you'll probably blow him away!
Talk about resources - you might not need more generals but most projects can deliver better with more soldiers. Work with him to identify what resources you need. Also don't be afraid of bringing in outside help e.g. expert contractors, professional services, data processors, etc.
Tell him what the key blocks are - what Issues need to be resolved now.
Tell him what your concerns are for the rest of the project - what Risks have you identified.
For both the above - always consider the people issues, who are you concerned about? (the customer changing requirements, senior management killing the project, etc.). This is one massive area where PMs are there to help you - this is their key skill.
If you've done any financials on what the project is/will cost - definitely include these too.

If you talk through these things - any PM worth anything should be very impressed by your commitment and understanding of what's required to make the project a success. You should also be on a great start to your relationship - basically because you've given him all the tools he will need to do his job.

If things are going well, tell him you really want to be the architect/technical lead/head of development - what ever job title your looking for on the project. And if you need resources then ask if they can be report to you in some way (that includes contractors and SI resources, etc.)

Also ask if he can show you what a project or program manager does, learn the skills and perhaps get to attend some of his meetings with senior management.
You never know - you might like it and decide you want to be a project or program manager one day!

If you start something like this then you have every chance of both being very successful and delivering a great project for which you'll both be well recognised by your company, your customers and your suppliers.

Perhaps your PM will then move to another bigger project at the same or bigger & better company - then who do you think will be the 1st person he calls when he needs development help?

I've seen this many times in my career - not just on my own projects and programs but every successful project I've ever seen.

And finally, as PM - seeing your junior team members be successful is far, far, far more personally rewarding than delivering projects.

Good luck for your discussion with your PM and your project

QA budget suckers (5, Interesting)

EmperorOfCanada (1332175) | about 2 years ago | (#42369929)

Insist on a one person reporting structure. The moment you are reporting to more that one person all is lost as each then is competing for your time and will try to shove in more features or reporting demand than the other.

Years ago I was happily working on a project where I basically dealt with the client. But our QA department just lost a big contract and saw my good sized budget and weaseled in. The head of the QA department did his damnedest to get more and more people onto the project and then started communicating with the client which somehow was being then communicated to me as we need more testing. So after a few weeks I was having to deal with 5 QA people, a QA manager, and the client. Productivity dropped like a stone. So I met on the side with the client who demanded that they approve any billable time for any employee ahead of time. So the QA manager would send in a huge complicated (30 pages) request for this and that and the client would send back a note, "At this time I will only accept billable time on programming, at the end of the project we will re-examine the need for QA." Then the next time the QA manager phoned him he answered the call with, "the time on this call had better not be billable."

A week later the QA manager had an all-hands-onboard management meeting where he demanded that all projects have a set minimum percentage of QA. This failed and he then layed off half of his QA staff.

The best part of all this is that I made some good money. The QA Manager was hired by a huge tech company (2000 bubble) and I played the options market to basically short the crap out of that company as he had been hired for a very senior position and my logic was that any company that could not filter out this waste product was doomed. Their share price went from $120 to around $10 in a couple of months and he basically moved there and was then laid off.

So insist on a single reporting person which will then result in your MBA type having to stack his MBA underling on top of you. This will be so obviously silly that it is doomed. If you do end up reporting to more than one person get the resume cooking as the stress of reporting to more than one person on a project is just not worth it. If you have 3 MBA types all piling on with their own perverse desires(TPA reports) then they will each demand 40 plust hours of work from you per week so either you will die trying to feed their stupid requests or you will fail and they will all sabotage you as they will need someone to blame and they are higher up the information food chain than you.

Re:QA budget suckers (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42370041)

If you have 3 MBA types all piling on with their own perverse desires(TPA reports) then they will each demand 40 plust hours of work from you per week so either you will die trying to feed their stupid requests or you will fail and they will all sabotage you as they will need someone to blame and they are higher up the information food chain than you.

This is what killed our company.

When we were a bunch of cowboy coders, it was chaotic, but we knew what individuals could get things done, and what interactions had to take place to get shit out the door.

Then we hired a bunch of agilistas, and in order to make sure that the "individuals and interactions" were properly reflected on the burndown charts, the MBA types demanded that we spend more time tracking our work than doing it. They called it being responsive to change, the agilistas lapped it up (and continued to work in spite of the MBA types), and the rest of us ended up quitting.

Re:QA budget suckers (2)

PPH (736903) | about 2 years ago | (#42370057)

Insist on a one person reporting structure. The moment you are reporting to more that one person all is lost as each then is competing for your time and will try to shove in more features or reporting demand than the other.

This is a good point. Have all of the consultants' requests for info. go through your program manager. It will keep demands on your time channeled through him/her and give the PM visibility of your work load. The more consultant crap you get, the further the primary project will slide.

If that doesn't work, you can always game the system. When one consultant asks you to do something, you can always claim to be working on something for another. Let them fight it out. But that might be burning bridges, so have an exit strategy figured out.

This is why polygamy works so well. Each wife thinks you are with another one. So you can sneak off to the shop and get some work done.

Re:QA budget suckers (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42370065)

Congratulations, you just admitted breaking insider trading laws on a public forum.

Re:QA budget suckers (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42370105)

What's insider trading? The hiring of the manager would have been public knowledge.

You don't (0)

Greyfox (87712) | about 2 years ago | (#42369939)

Once one of those fuckers gets on you, he'll be harder to get off than a pit bull with rabies! Your best bets are to find a new job outside the company and negotiate a hefty pay raise in the process or find someone inside the company who's impressed with your success and transfer to their department. Of course your reasons for leaving should be "Looking for new challenges," not "I have manager herpes in this position."

Something I learned during an internship (3, Insightful)

jiteo (964572) | about 2 years ago | (#42369945)

Pretend you don't understand and ask him questions. "I need to work with this team leader, can you explain his role please?" "I need to know what I can and can't ask of this consultant, can you clarify his mandate?"

He'll either give rational logical answers - in which case you can accept them or counter with more questions - or by trying to answer your questions he'll realize his reasons for doing all those things weren't as great as they first seemed to him - in which case you win - or he's a politician and changing his mind is flip flopping, so he'll dig in and defend himself at all costs - in which case you're screwed, but if that's the case you're screwed regardless.

Re:Something I learned during an internship (1)

csumpi (2258986) | about 2 years ago | (#42370285)

So let me get this straight. They are bringing in a consultant because they think the job is bigger than you can handle. And your suggestion is to be passive aggressive and play dumb?

Re:Something I learned during an internship (1)

pseudonymnal (1963912) | about 2 years ago | (#42370335)

This reminds me of an article I read recently about the “illusion of explanatory depth [] ," which is an idea that "...we understand how complex systems work even when our true understanding is superficial. And it is not until we are asked to explain how such a system works — whether it’s what’s involved in a trade deal with China or how a toilet flushes — that we realize how little we actually know." Asking questions in such an earnest way, it would seem to me, invokes that same self-realization.

Anyway, great post.

Project Management 101 (1)

mstockmyer (565058) | about 2 years ago | (#42369947)

This seems simple but people often overlook the obvious. If you've got some requirements (small r, not even SRS or CMMi level stuff, but the more the better) let those requirements drive your tasking, and therefore, your staffing. Plan what needs to be done and negotiate who's going to do what. If there's a need for the extra management, the planning should spell it out. Keep team roles clear and agreed upon. If one of the new managers is supposed to interface with the customer, give them the role of "Customer Interface Manager" and make them report on their progress on a regular basis. Invent new roles as time goes on and you need them. Delete them as they go out of scope.

Stop dating're not ready for relationship (1, Insightful)

ElitistWhiner (79961) | about 2 years ago | (#42369953)

Refocus on requirements, refine the ' engine' core to the technology and relaunch when it won't matter how badly a PM fucks up the implementation, rollout and rampup......the core engine is defined, stable and sufficiently abstracted to weather the educated PM who's fancy certification and cadre of developers are deadset on changing the world.

Stars will holes will consume huge quantities of both manpower and resources but the core technology remains to power will be vindicated, recognized and rewarded.

PM's then will do whatever you GURU WARRIOR you

I too once worked for (1)

kilodelta (843627) | about 2 years ago | (#42369961)

A large hierarchical tech company. I was in the security systems side and we had a perfectly functional, mature, expandable system in place. But when we got bought by another security company and then finally the big tech company they decided they needed to go with something new and unproven.

They'll lose about $20 million to $80 million over that little cluster fuck.

This is an age-old problem (1)

whizbang77045 (1342005) | about 2 years ago | (#42369973)

An old question goes like this: "do you manage what you don't understand, or understand what you don't manage?"

It's entirely too easy for companies to hire managers on the basis of an MBA, who really don't understand the practical considerations of what they are managing. I'm not sure there is a "fix" for these situations that is palatable to higher management.

During my days in program management, I watched programs get severely damaged, because our vice-president simply did not understand the technical and legal constraints we had. Having the technical types work with program management goes a long ways, but as long as companies hire those who have never done the work as managers, this problem will be with us.

My fix was to retire early, brought on largely by the stress associated with just these sorts of problems.

Proper Guidance Needed? (1)

Striikerr (798526) | about 2 years ago | (#42369987)

Sometimes there is a reason why companies break large projects into multiple facets, each managed by a specialist and overseen by an overall PM. This can work provided the teams consist of high quality professionals (A-list players). I've seen many projects doomed because there is a lack of strong and competent leadership overseeing a project (the last company I worked for was shut down because of this). If your company gets a lot of specialists and consultants who don't listen to input from the staff working on it, there is a high chance of failure. If leadership is too passive and doesn't get people on task and on target, there is a good chance for failure. Finding people who have a vested interest in the success of the project is vital and finding people who take pride in their work is vital. Having husks sitting at a desk doing their part without passion or caring is a recipe for disaster.
You've done your part. You've built the specs and now it's time for the other folks to do their part. Hopefully your company has quality people and strong leadership so that your project will succeed.

Mythical Man Month (1)

Lando (9348) | about 2 years ago | (#42370015)

I'd suggest reading Mythical Man Month and then going to talk with the program manager. You can point out that it will take more time to bring all these new people on board rather than continuing to build out the project yourself. The book should provide you with a bit of ammunition.

It does sound like the program manager is trying to get his/her name associated with the project, ie riding on you coat tails. There isn't anything particularly wrong with this, but it requires you to manage the resource rather than becoming managed by their "help" If you don't have the skill to do so, you will need to find a mentor to give you advice. Most large companies operate as much on politics as they do on actual products. Solicit advice from senior engineers and others that you feel have the knowledge and skills to work in the political landscape. Not much else I can tell you.

u can not... (1)

zugedneb (601299) | about 2 years ago | (#42370017)

there is need for fewer and fewer workers for our ever advancing race, and no remotly sane individual is going to rationalize away the need for its own existence... even managers want to make a living...

the only way back to sanity is to wait for our transcendence, or take to a shutgun.

Too-many-chiefs-too-few-indians? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42370025)

Too few indians? Sounds like the boss may try to get more H-1Bs from India.

Build it in secret (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42370037)

Let the management have their pie-in-the-sky project which is doomed to fail, to keep them busy and make them think they are actually producing something.

In the meantime, keep your team sheltered and coherent while you work on the actual project in a secret "skunkworks" that will come through in the end and save the day when the "official" project crashes and burns. :)

He is doing you a favor. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42370045)

Seriously. Large projects seldomly work out as well as they are sold in the end. You need to be "the early guy" on as many projects as possible. Leave doing the implementation (and most likely to fail parts) to some other team.

I'm absolutely serious.
You need to get out - now.

I've been on project teams from 5 people to almost 10,000 people and there is a time to get out. That time is anytime before any failure happens. Reread that statement. "Anytime before any failure happens."

The larger the project, the more likely it will fail. I've seen $500M projects cancelled after $450M was spent. The way that I found out was my contracting team interface didn't show up to work on Friday morning at 9am. At 9pm the night before, we were working hard together. At 8:30am Friday, I was still pushing for hardware vendors to make deliveries to meet our schedule. My part of the project was only $50M, so I was a small fish. Also, I was a contractor, independent, as someone who could be fired, but I'd been at the company almost a decade, so I was a known person with quality outcomes.

      You need to get out - now.

Take your reputation and find a great job in another company ASAP - or even in a different department inside your current company. Get a promotion, get a raise, take a little vacation, but get away from that project.

This sort of thing happens inside big companies all the time. See - it is a "success" now, so you should use that aspect to build your career. Don't wait until it is too late.

BTW, I'm an enterprise technical architect. I see projects like this all-the-time. Don't be a sap. Don't have your career killed because you want to see it through. That attitude is for smaller, family, companies. Be smart, use this as a way to build your career, get better and higher paying gigs. I work about 150 days a year now and travel all over the world. I'm in my ideal situation. When I work, I WORK! But between projects, I'm negotiating "when" I can be available to suit my desires. I'm extremely humble with the clients - I just want to make their project(s) a success. Usually, they are in way over their heads and the internal people can't say that like I can, as an outsider.

In case you missed it -
      You need to get out - now.

Shut up and cash the check.... its politics (1)

Morrolan (542301) | about 2 years ago | (#42370075)

Looks like you are suffering under the decease named politics. When things start looking good in a project, management types will jockey for position to take credit or to submarine the effort. You can either play the game (move into management) or.... make sure you are working on pieces of the project that interest you. You can of course try tilting at windmills... Let me know how that works for you. A bitter old man

chefs and indians (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42370087)

let me guess. your project probably involves multilayer architecture, that seamlessly integrates with loosely couple components built on top of spring/jpa/mvc distributed across the high performance cluster with synchronized state. count dependencies in your maven and frameworks that you use. then take another look at your manager and tell us what exactly you blame him for again.

as you mentioned, you work in hierarchical company, so you both, technology and management, should work hard to maintain a complex hierarchy of bullshit. stop whining and get to work.

Bail. (3, Interesting)

mevets (322601) | about 2 years ago | (#42370117)

The company is hierarchical.
The PM fits the religion.
You do not.
You will not change their religion.
It will not get better.

Manure, lightly spread where needed, is the best fuel for growth and prosperity. Too much, too close together is just a heap of shit.

SOP (1)

jacobsm (661831) | about 2 years ago | (#42370133)

Too many people, and most managers, feel that once they take a piss in projects they like the smell better.

Think Banquet, not broth. (2)

DLG (14172) | about 2 years ago | (#42370203)

I would speak to whoever your direct supervisor is and ask to learn about how the company manages project of this size. Maybe point you towards any documentation in the SDLC. Clearly you don't understand what the program manager is doing. If they are traditional PMI type program manager, than they exist because what you are doing is called a program, not a project, wherein there are multiple projects that make up the program.

A program manager with multiple projects running concurrently is going to be trying to determine how many project managers there needs to be. Given that traditional programs have multiple deadlines, might have multiple development teams, qa teams, deployment teams, and a wide range of stakeholders, you may be underestimating what is necessary for the project management side of things. A program manager who underestimates what they need is failing. A project manager who underestimates what they need is failing. As a developer, you give estimates and the project managers try to understand how to use those estimates to determine resource needs. As a project manager, you have to include not just development work, but project management itself. Project managers who are programmers tend to try to close gaps by programming rather than project managing. The program manager doesn't have any recourse there. They can't dive into detail level. Its actually important that they don't. A project manager should be helping identify tasks, so that they can prioritize work based on dependencies. They need to be able to continually communicate resource gaps. A program manager should be taking oversight over multiple projects.

So basically if this project is simple enough that a single person can manage the teams necessary, with all communication being handled in a timely way, change control, qa, and deployment teams all easy to manage, then sure, smallest team necessary is best.

But if the issue here is that you just don't like the culture of enterprise development software development life cycle, then you are in the wrong company based on what you describe.

Having spent a lot of time running a small fast software company and a freelance programmer, and 5 years watching a small company get absorbed into a large company, I know a lot about how this works. Personally I am a better project manager than most people I know, but I hate it and since i am also a better design/architect/programmer, my bosses agree to try not to make me project manage. That being said, because the very large corporation I work for is extremely resource tight, and believed in flattening their management, we have very few project managers and we have suffered a lot. If your company has drank the ITIL/PMI coolaid and are willing to actually allocate the right qualified team members to fill those roles, than you are very lucky. Mostly I have seen companies whose leadership is trying to enforce those things, and doesn't invest in the necessary resources to make it work (so that too few lead chefs mean everyone has to do work they aren't good at)

Before you assume that your MBA type program manager sucks, consider that good project/program manager is a skill independent of the goal. A good project manager can figure out how to get you to the moon without knowing anything about aerodynamics. If you can learn a bit of that, then at worst you may be better at communicating to project managers and the people who hire them, and you may even be better at hiring project managers in the future.

If you treat it as a case where the guy is not valuable because his knowledge isn't based on software development skills, well I have news for you. None of the expert programmers I know can project manage worth a damn. Guys with 30 years of experience don't know how to think about projects in a way that is constructive. They may be problem solvers in their domain, but project management is its own puzzle. If you don't respect it, then don't expect to work well in the modern offshore heavy, PMI/ITIL driven enterprise world.

So yeah, if all you are making is broth, then too many cooks is bad.

I assume you want to do something a little bigger than broth in your life.


without appearing selfish? (1)

csumpi (2258986) | about 2 years ago | (#42370237)

"without appearing selfish"

But it sounds like you are in fact selfish. What do you think trying to hide it will get you?

"What positive approach can I try with the PM, with whom I have a good working relationship?"

So you want to dump some more oil on the fire. Your peers will hate you. Your boss will hate you. You will hate your job (although you might already). There are three possible long term outcomes:

a) you get with the plan
b) you quit
c) you get fired

The Ant Fable (5, Insightful)

lucm (889690) | about 2 years ago | (#42370245)

Print copies of this fable for the break room and make sure your boss and the project manager read it. []

This is gold!

Re:The Ant Fable (1)

catchblue22 (1004569) | about 2 years ago | (#42370385)

Mod parent up. Great slideshow.

Empire building (1)

Antique Geekmeister (740220) | about 2 years ago | (#42370303)

There can be many reasons for this, such as empire building (where a manager's pay scale and promotions depend on the number of people they manage). Getting outside review can also sometimes stabilize a project: I, and my colleagues, have sometimes _been_ the consultants brought in to help integrate a new project. There are few projects as doomed to failure as exciting technical innovations that were actually done better years ago, are already available in their existing tools, and they just didn't know how to use them so they've re-invented the wheel.

Can you find out why your manager thinks it needs additional layers of human complexity? Does that manager think your time is too committed and you won't have enough left for all the work? Doing good work on QA and documentation, and making sure you manager knows it's there, might help reduce their need to add layers of consultants and extraneous testing or planning cycles.

Here's my advice, as a manager... (3, Insightful)

jafo (11982) | about 2 years ago | (#42370337)

Your program manager probably wants this project to succeed as much as you do. Keep that in mind.

Be mature and communicate with them. Tell them your concerns, something like "This project is very important professionally and personally to me, and I want to work with you to make sure that it succeeds. However, I'm concerned that bringing in new team leads and consultants be done in a way that most improves the project. We've all heard the stories of new people being added to a project and causing problems . So how can we work together to make sure that this is a success."

Keep away from phrasing that is too accusatory, stay more neutral like I have above. For example, I said that I was concerned about new team members being the most successful, rather than saying "I am concerned about the new people you are bringing in will cause problems". Also, try to work with the program manager rather than being sure that they're just going to wreck things and you are the only hope.

If your program manager is any good, you can almost certainly accomplish more together than either of you can apart. Remember that and work together.


Quit, become your own boss, destroy them. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42370349)

End of story. :)

First rule: (3, Interesting)

109 97 116 116 (191581) | about 2 years ago | (#42370377)

1. Where possible NEVER reveal experimental failures to anyone. Ever.
          Experimental failures are normal learning processes for developers that management nor marketing never understand.

Kanban + Continous Delivery (1)

arachnoprobe (945081) | about 2 years ago | (#42370453)

Introduce Kanban + CI -> CI + Kanban Makes "plans" superfluos -> Kanban Makes it possible to use Good Team input

The key... (1)

ameline (771895) | about 2 years ago | (#42370455)

Speaking as someone who, without realizing it, has become one of those old fart programmers;

The key to not appearing selfish is not being selfish.

(I'll also let you in on my secret of weight loss -- *whispering silently* eat less, exercise more.)

Wrecking YOUR project??? (2)

GrumpyDiver (1461449) | about 2 years ago | (#42370457)

I'm sorry to disagree with your premise, but having delivered a number of large projects, having a good solid project team increases the likelihood of success, Running something complex on your own is more likely to have the opposite result. That being said, a poor project management team can sink a project quickly to, but if you work for a large technology company, chances are they know how to deliver successful projects. It seems to me that your real issue is that you are afraid of losing ownership and control of your project, rather than anything else. It sounds like your key skills are technical and not necessarily related to managing a project, so as an outsider looking in, I could see you in a key role on the development team, but it doesn't sound like you necessarily have the skill set to do this on your own. Budgets, schedules, resource management, coding, test plans, user and code documentation, change management, training, standards compliance, etc., etc. all require expertise that you likely don't have. Someone has to lock down the scope and keep the team on track. I personally don't have a problem with the MBA types; like any other group, there are some good ones out there that will add value and others that you likely would not want on the team.... If the project is delivered on time and on budget, everyone wins. If it is not, the company has wasted valuable resources; I would not want to be on a team that did not deliver the project, regardless of who was on the team or running it. Be realistic about your own skills and abilities; are you really the best person to run this project?
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