Manage your people

Whereas I don’t have the experience to write about it, I’d like to show some lecture notes and summaries about leading in high-tech.

Science, technology and tools often hide the most important fact: your people are your capital! The better your people the better your products. Of course you can hire highly trained people, but it’s your obligation to give them space and opportunity to evolve.

Your employees are highly motivated and highly trained after their schooling, but all to often the get demotivated far too fast. Why? One thing I’ve blogged about earlier is to tell them how to do their task instead the goal. This leads to an interest conflict, the requirements may conflict with the employees liability. Simply put: I can’t be responsible for things I was forced to do.

Software Engineering is somehow special in some cases:

  • Ideas are the driving force
  • The outcome is often unsure
  • Research leads to knowledge gain; Development to products; these two often get mixed up and lead to nowhere
  • Progress is hard to measure (90% syndrome)
  • Unsafe starting-point (changing requirements; incomplete foundation)
  • High complexity of modern software products

To support the worker, you must make sure

  • to give them enough freedom to think
  • to enable quiet and uninterrupted working
  • to enable communication between the people
  • to supply the needed tools
  • not to condemn errors – these are necessary within a creative environment

Important points to keep:

  • bad ideas lead to bad products (often the first idea won’t be the best)
  • the best idea won’t lead to success if the routine work fails
  • methods enable creative thinking (they free you from thinking about routine tasks)
  • processes make projects faster! If a process slows you down (long-term), it’s the wrong one.
  • your people want to be proud of their work, make sure they can.

Managers are hired to amplify the productivity of all people around them.
— Scott Berkun; The Art of Project Management