Coaching & Mentoring Software Project Team Teams
Project managers are often viewed as irrelevant, nosy and obstacles in the path to project completion by both developers and managers. Software development is by nature driven by a wish-list and limited by time, scope, and money. While time and scope are often interdependent, money can always be worked around by choosing a cheaper approach, e.g. Let’s build it, rather than buy it, or outsource it in South Asia. This is impossible for projects in the construction or manufacturing industries, for example, because the constraints are physical and cannot easily be manipulated.
5 Paths to Project Success
After having experienced problems in my software development projects, and being a witness of a disastrous software delivery project by another team, I have narrowed down the solution to a list of actions that project managers must take to avoid future disasters and make these projects a success. Coaching the teams about why certain actions or steps are important and how to best use PM methodologies for a project is my favorite way to make sure they succeed.
1. Explain to your team why you are doing this.
Talk a bit aloud to your team and explain why you are doing this. Ask them what their thoughts are. They are software engineers, not drones. They see everything so if you ask them to think about it, they will help you understand the bigger picture. They will trust you.
2. Talk about your previous experiences
Use examples from your past experience to show them how PM methodology could have helped. Don’t assume they will be less supportive of you. They already think highly of you. You can only go higher.
3. Take them to the WBS
When you take the WBS, sit down with them. Ask them questions and tell them what you think and what you want to do. Keep thinking loud.
4. Maximize flexibility in your construction
Learn the differences and make them work in your favor. Project managers are by nature unable to plan, anticipate, and have alternates for every task they undertake. Software engineers and developers, on the other hand, don’t operate in this way. They prefer to create something that isn’t vulnerable to malware, viruses, and hacks. The project manager must coach the team to build with maximum flexibility, so it can be extended. This is because the PM knows that clients will want to be able specify their own parameters or properties.
5. Review the plan
When planning details of project engagement/communication go over the plan with the team so they understand what you need to do and what they need to do when problems occur. They won’t try to cause problems by taking in client wishes lists or gold plating the project.
Software for Project Management
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