Project manager has been accused by developers as an arrogant jerk who forgets or doesn’t even know what it is like to design and code an actual web development project. All of this is harmful in any development projects. Reflecting on that situation a bit more, you may be wondering whether there are things managers ought to remember in improving their relations with web development team.
1. Communicate Your Goals Clearly
Nothing more annoying than handing down designs you hastily cobbled together to your developers team to “figure it out”. Each time you want to have a specific site structure, create an easy-to-understand presentation using Powerpoint. Or better yet, use Flash animation as mock-up, so everyone knows what the final product should be.
2. Follow Your Own Standard
It’s exciting (well, maybe to a few people) to assemble standards documents that define the build structures, coding conventions, source code nomenclature, code organization, and others. But to publish these standards and fails to adhere them yourself can be considered as the worst form of hypocrisy possible. If you are unable to follow your own standards, why would you ask anyone else to follow them?
By following your own standards, you’ll know what will work and what won’t and of course you’ll know whether your standards are humane enough.
3. Inform, Don’t Teach
Project managers are supposed to function as a source of experience and knowledge. Failing to share useful information and knowledge is pretty much annoying; you’re not fulfilling your own core job description. But, the way you communicate your experiences is just as essential as the information itself. Think of yourself as a salesperson who wants to convey some important points of information, instead of a boring teacher in a classroom.
Some managers may even behave like a preacher and that’s the ultimate turn off. However critical and useful the information is, if delivered in a wrong way, the core message may completely be lost due to the lack of mutual respect. Bad politics can kill web development projects faster than rattlesnake venom will take out a rat.
4. Prepare A Good Documentation
What’s the ultimate complaint about a web development project? Poorly written or even lack of documentation. The truth is, no one likes writing it. Accomplished developers may think that they’re wasting their talents by spending time writing a documentation. It is a good idea to hire someone who specializes in creating and updating documentation. Junior developers are perfect for this task, to allow them to understand the complete process and details of a project, before they get their hands dirty.
5. Command From the Front Line, Not From a Cushy HQ
If one idea generates large amount contempt for project manager, of course something is wrong. Somewhere along the way, it will accumulate and can be powerful enough to disrupt a project.
It can happen because:
- Your team had no say in it
- The framework is simply impractical to work in a real world
- Your idea is a blatant disregard of your own standards because you do not understand the chaos of implementing a non-compatible idea
Managers should be an integral member of the troops, setting up a command post right on the front line. Teams respect the views of someone who lives each day side-by-side with them in the trench, not someone who yells on the radio to order a suicidal attack and walks back to his posh headquarters.
6. Be a Real Leader!
Face it! No sane project manager would throw their mock-ups over to the developers and expect it to be perfect. Managers that believe their job is limited to defining goals don’t really know what it means to be managers. When a web site is being developed, it is the manager that should be on site during the most part of the project, supervising the effort at a high level, making sure that little changes won’t impact the big picture. At the same time, the manager should assist in solving obstacles that arise from their workflow from a practical standpoint.
In short, the manager’s involvement is completely continuous, not discrete.
7. Gain Respect
Finally, behaving like a drill sergeant is just like asking to be ignored and disrespected. Don’t do it. No matter what. Not even during your bad hair day. Acting like assholes is not in your job description. The respect you gain now, directly improves the progress of the project.