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Re: Making the Business Case for Developer-Run Development

by qq (Hermit)
on Aug 10, 2004 at 22:15 UTC ( #381801=note: print w/replies, xml ) Need Help??

in reply to Making the Business Case for Developer-Run Development

Why does the senior management want to install a manager? Is it just because the department is growing, so they think its a natual step, or are there specific concerns they have? Ask yourself these questions as part of your preparation. Then ask them.

Explain that you have a good working practice (I assume you do) and that you are concerned it will be disrupted.

In my experience the most difficult thing for developers, and the piece that gets most contentious, is estimating time and budgets. A large part of the Xtreme programming philosophy (client on site, allways having working software, small steps) seems to be about finding another approach to this, since its so difficult to plan and estimate correctly up front.

If that is a concern, explain that its notoriously difficult in the software industry, and its a known concern with lot of competing methodologies that attempt to solve it. Its not just that developers are always bad at estimating, and its not something that a hard nosed manager will just be able to fix.

Generally though, it seems like you don't want a non-technical manager making decisions that are directly or indirectly technical. This includes both "use Java for this" and "have this ready in 2 weeks (which makes a whole lot of technical decisions for you right aways)". So tell the senior management that, and make sure the job description does not allow it. Decisions of that nature should be taken jointly by the lead developer and the manager. Not the manager consulting the developer, but a joint decision. That needs to be in the contract.

Make sure you get in on the recruitment process. This includes the job spec, and the interviews.

Managers are not bad, but don't let them change the way you work. And don't don't don't accept anyone with PRINCE2 training!


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Re^2: Making the Business Case for Developer-Run Development
by JanneVee (Friar) on Aug 11, 2004 at 01:09 UTC

    And don't don't don't accept anyone with PRINCE2 training!

    Why? sounds like you have real Project Horror storie in there somewhere.

      Well, generalizing from a sample of one ...

      I'd say that PRINCE2 is very heavy on design up front and full specifications, and creates endless documents (not developer documentation, but customer/client docs).

      The documents had a rigid structure that included lines like "The scope of this document is defined by its inclusions. However exclusions are included to further define the scope of this document". After a page of boiler plate text that defined the scope of the document came several pages that defined the scope of the project. And everything had to be signed by three people, in four different places.

      PRINCE2 is also presented as a miracle cure that if properly understood and implemented will suddenly disolve all the real world difficulties of development and customer satisfaction in one go. I spent months on defining and redefining "processes" while watching our real work get neglected. It only stopped when the company went under.

      This manager was a nice guy, friendly, listened well, stood up for developers when needed. But he was blinded by his management training, and couldn't really hear alternatives. If you gave criticism, he'd reply "if there is something you are not happy about, please bring it up" - which you just had. Then, later, he'd give you an two hour personal meeting to explain why you had missed the point and he'd patiently explain his boneheaded opinion again. Whereas you'd be too tired to oppose, and meekly submit.

      He also micromanaged technical work, but thats another story


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