Product talk: Good Software Management: 11.13.12 (startup product meetup)


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Good software management:
⁃ How to recognize it when you see it
⁃ How to encourage it
⁃ How to encourage senior management to encourage it
⁃ How to collaborate with it effectively

What does good software development management look like?
How do good programming managers motivate their teams?
What are programming managers bedeviled by?
How are programming managers tormented by product managers?
What are the forces that cause discord between product and software development managers?
What can be done about feature creep and late changing requirements?
Why do so many parts of organizations expect feature requirements to change but not delivery schedules?
What part of “cheap, fast, good – pick any two” isn’t clear?
What are objectives shared between programming managers and product managers that could encourage collaboration?
What would happen if programming managers and product managers formed mutual admiration societies with each other?

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Product talk: Good Software Management: 11.13.12 (startup product meetup)

  1. 1. Chaos to Clarity:Managing the Unmanageable Ron Lichty, Ron Lichty Consulting
  2. 2. Ron Lichty,Managing Software People & Teams SOFTWEST
  3. 3. Why we wrote: * * Addison Wesley published October 1, 2012
  4. 4. Rules of Thumb / Nuggets of Wisdom*• Measure twice, cut once.• Life is simpler when you plow around the stump.• Brooks’s Law: Adding manpower to a late software project makes it later. – Frederick P. Brooks Jr.* 300 in the book
  5. 5. Agenda• Managing Delivery• Challenges new programming managers have• Motivating• Recruiting• Handling Problem Employees• Shielding Their Team• Managing Out and Up• Establishing Culture• Communicating• Q&A
  6. 6. Managing Delivery• Best programming manager you ever worked with? • Skills • Behaviors • Finesse • Gifts of greatness. . . that made them stand out?
  7. 7. Great Programming Manager• Always recruiting• Seeks to collaborate• Listener• Almost psychologist understanding of coders• Motivates• Deals with problem employees• Clear alignment of team and purpose• Infectious enthusiasm that brings it all together• Delivers
  8. 8. Challenges for New Programming ManagersRule of Thumb:The very thing that has made you successful will get in yourway in your next role.•Manage•Delegate•Be a Motivator•Don’t Be a De-Motivator
  9. 9. Motivators vs De-Motivators
  10. 10. Motivating: Be Careful What You Reward• “Behavior revolves around what you measure.” – Jim Highsmith• “Firefighters who get rewarded carry matches.” – Kimberly Wiefling• Do you define “done” as “coding complete”? – Or as features that delight customers?
  11. 11. Recruiting• A team manager’s most important job• Challenge: give it the priority it deserves• Always be recruiting• There’s no perfect hiring record
  12. 12. Handling Problem Employees• Intervention beats performance plans & firing – Requires preparation, commitment, time – But gets the job done earlier:• One of two results: – Turns them around – Manages them out—Marty Brounstein: Handling the Difficult Employee
  13. 13. Shielding Your Team• Threat to your team – Torrent of politics, “opportunities”, issues – Sap your team’s focus• Challenge to managers – Be a conduit for Mission and Passion and Strategy – While shielding your team from distractionBe a damper to the noise. --Joe Kleinschmidt, CTO
  14. 14. Managing Out and Up• “The single most important leader in an organization is your immediate supervisor.” – Jim Kouzes• “You can safely assume all perceptions are real, at least to those who own them.” – Joe Folkman
  15. 15. Managing Out & Up• Because – your peers increasingly are not technical – and your boss may not be either• …they’ll pressure you – to micromanage your team (or let them) – to report on / prove your team’s productivity – to fill your team’s plates to capacity
  16. 16. Productivity• The Apple Lisa team’s managers had asked engineers to report, each week, how many lines of code they’d written. The first week, Bill Atkinson turned his attention to making QuickDraw faster and more efficient, reducing the previous week’s code by 2,000 lines. He duly reported that he’d written minus-2,000 lines of code for the week.
  17. 17. Capacity• Slack is critical to throughput – 100% capacity results in bottlenecks --photo (c) Bud Adams, SXC,
  18. 18. What Be-Devils Managers?• Micromanagement• Requirements that are too detailed• Requirements that are missing• Requirements that are not prioritized• Increasing requirements without adding time• Fixed scope with arbitrary deadlines• Interruptions• Arbitrary, counter-productive rules
  19. 19. How do we focus on collaboration?
  20. 20. How do we focus on collaboration?• Roadmaps• Prioritization• Listening to customers• Avoiding wasted time• Reducing complexity• Making software customers love
  21. 21. Establishing Culture• Does your company live its values?• Programming culture ≠ corporate culture – Wall parts off – Substitute and bolster more appropriate values• Wherever you can, leverage culture & values
  22. 22. Establishing Culture• “Publicly reward or acknowledge engineers who act in a way that supports the culture that you want to create.” —Juanita Mah, engineering manager
  23. 23. Communicating• Managers have to communicate more• Encourage the team to communicate• Create a culture of communication – at every level – with everyone • up, down, within and across• “We have two ears and one mouth. Use them in this ratio.” — Kimberly Wiefling
  24. 24. Form a Mutual Admiration Pact?• Lots more collaboration and communication• Surprise the rest of management – Relief – Or scare them (!)• Help each other manage up and out
  25. 25. A Few Closing Rules of Thumb• If you’re a people manager, your people are far more important than anything else you’re working on. —Tim Swihart, Engineering Director• Projects should be run like marathons. You have to set a healthy pace that can win the race and expect to sprint for the finish line. —Ed Catmull, CTO, Pixar Animation Studios• In applications with high technical debt, estimating is nearly impossible. —Jim Highsmith, Agile Coach and Leader• The quality of code you demand during the first week of a project is the quality of code you’ll get every week thereafter. —Joseph Kleinschmidt, CTO, Leverage Software
  26. 26. Ron Lichty Consulting• Mentoring and Coaching and Consulting: –• The book: Managing the Unmanageable: Rules, Tools & Insights for Managing Software People & Teams –• Training: forthcoming: – “The Agile Manager” – “Managing Software People and Teams: the class” (Email me through the site above and I’ll let you know when.)