Software engineers are a unique bunch. They are often portrayed having a singular vision and often not the strongest in people skills—but the truth is they are perhaps the very best people to learn project management lessons from. Why is this? Well, consider this article by Gideon Kimbrell. Within, Kimbrell explains the lessons that software engineers provide project managers simply by being great software engineers. They include:
- Creating structure
- Listening and understanding
- Not underestimating inspiration
- Mastering communication
Master Of Communication
The first three are completely dependent on the last (mastering communication). After all, without the ability to communicate it doesn’t matter what you do or don’t do. As Kimbrell states:
Structure, understanding, and inspiration depend on the one irreplaceable management skill: communication. No matter what type of project you’re working on or what industry you work in, communication is the only way to succeed. There are different methods for being an effective communicator, but if you aren’t reaching your team, you’re not going to succeed.
The best way to get through to your team is to be genuine. Don’t say things you don’t believe, and don’t do anything to undermine your message. If you stress accountability and a shared vision, don’t let anyone slide on those principles. Be someone your team can depend on and look to for guidance. Expressing phony enthusiasm or inconsistency will leave your team questioning you.
Software engineers are notoriously blunt. They say what they mean and mean what they say. This lesson is invaluable for a leader who might feel the need to sugar-coat a message to their team. The truth is, the more honest you are, the more your team will trust you.