3 Tales of Micromangement

by Curt 23. January 2010 08:27

Software projects tend to be susceptible to micromanagement.  Even if your project has healthy requirements definition, there are still so many hidden details that need to be worked out.  

 

I’m sure that you’ve experienced micromanagement in the past and it caused you a bit of grief.  However, you may not realize that other team members sometimes condition themselves and their managers into needing low level direction.

 

You may also be thinking that all micromanagement is evil.  Mostly it is, but it can sometimes be used as a tool when team members are having trouble executing.

 

Below are three stories of micromanagement to help you see these different forms.  I hope they allow you to identify when to use it and how it happens, so you can take appropriate action.

 

Jack the Robot

 

Jack, the developer, has transformed into a robot.  He has lost the ability to execute the simplest tasks without instruction.  When you, the project manager, are unavailable he wanders around aimlessly repeating “Need Input… Need input…”.  Regrettably, you may be to blame for his metamorphosis.

When you first began working with Jack, before he became the robot, you sensed something about him.  The ambiguity of project details, which was the norm for you, was frustrating for Jack.  You shrugged it off though, thinking it was just a developer striving for exactness.

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Tags:

Management

Developer to manager and back again.

by Curt 10. January 2010 07:50

You're done trying to control the chaos and you want your old development job back.  You're fed up with the endless stream of feature creep and politically motivated deadlines.  The hands on technical work that got you out of bed in the morning has been replaced with managing others to do that work.

 

Don't be rash

 

For the moment, hold off marching into your manager's office and requesting that you be 'unmade' a project manager.  Consider the rationale for your decision.  Make sure you not overreacting to something bad that just happened.

 

  • Did you miss a major milestone?
  • Did you make a bad call?
  • Did a key team member leave and cite you as the reason?

 

Events like this are painful, but they shape you into a better project manager.  They'll force you to do things differently and provide you with the best learning experience.

 

“I'm not being rash, I want out...”

 

Alright, perhaps your justifications are not related to one of the fires you couldn't put out. You feel that you have legitimate gripes about the core responsibilities of being a project manager.

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Tags:

Career | Development | Management

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