Project Management

The 5 Things Developers Expect from a Project Manager

Consultant software engineer Federico Tomassetti understands the great power of project managers—power that can help or destroy a team. Healthy relationships must be maintained between project managers and their developers if success is to result. In an article for DZone, Tomassetti shares five things developers expect you as the project manager to do:

  1. Communicate business priorities and consider technical priorities.
  2. Inform developers about deadlines well in advance.
  3. Manage communications.
  4. Shield developers from issues.
  5. Make sure they work on relevant projects.

Heavy Lies the Crown

The two sorts of priorities that arise in software development are business and technical priorities. The technical lay of the land may show that it would be most efficient to build features in one particular order. However, business priorities might dictate that there is a major benefit to producing one particular feature immediately, in which case this should likely take precedence. In any case, project managers must articulate for developers all of the factors that are in play, so more-informed decisions are made.

Likewise, developers do not want to be blindsided by deadlines. Granted, when last-second emergencies arise, there is not much that can be done other than to grin and bear it. But in all other cases, developers should be given proper notice—and also honest notice. Tomassetti has seen some situations where project managers fabricate deadlines in order to motivate developers to get work done faster. Suffice to say, lies make for an incredibly bad strategy for maintaining a productive team.

A good project manager can maintain transparency and chase out the truth on both sides of the table. Tomassetti cheers for the managers who doggedly acquire the information they need from customers, or who are able to convey information to stakeholders more eloquently than developers would do it. In general, project managers protect developers from issues:

…they deal with the internal politics, they take part in discussions about what features to develop and which not, they could fight to get resources for the team. They could compete with other teams and they may have customers screaming at them. I am sorry for that, but if PMs start to push all their stress on the developers, then we will end up being between the anvil and the hammer. We would be both constrained by the reality of technical difficulties and the pink-pony-craziness of customers and politics.

Lastly, developers count on project managers to give them work that matters. If developers work hard to develop a feature that nobody really uses, that completed feature will not shine like a beacon for them when the time for promotions comes around. Think about what will motivate the developers.

You can view the original article here:

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