How to lead software projects like a Real Manager : a quick guide.

Around 70 percent of software projects fail. If you are still in the boring 30% that delivers predictable quality instead of chaotic rock ‘n roll, fear no more. This guide will guarantee your spectacular project will be on everyone’s radar in no time!

Believe in your vision

You know what you want, right? You have the vision. Why waste time on user feedback and listening to your experts, when you can predict the future yourself. Weaker men would incorporate “new insights” and “lessons learned”, but not you. You know everything up front.

Pro Tip : Learning from small experiments and changing the scope accordingly is a sign of weakness. Always persist!

Go big, you can do it!

A Real Manager has the ambition and the guts to go big. So what if you don’t have a team yet? Who cares if you’ve never delivered anything? Start with the 2-year plan. Make sure to call it the “flagship project” and get high visibility. Make a Powerpoint that includes the words “Mission Critical” and a crazy deadline and present it to the board. Show them how it’s done!

Pro Tip : You can really impress people by dividing your mega-project in phases. Don’t forget to stuff each of these with loads of scope from day one and slap tight deadlines on each phase. That one always works!

Planning is everything

If delivery is not according to plan, reality is wrong. It’s that simple. If you give up on the plan, the terrorists have won. Deadlines are the most important things in life!

Here is what you do instead. Listen up, because this is what separates the managers from the boys.

  • Make a retroplan. Replanning the whole thing will somehow make the fixed deadline more feasible.
  • Stop wasting time refactoring and designing. That has nothing to do with real software development. First time right, remember?
  • Re-estimate. Get your devs in a room and sternly demand they estimate the project again. The entire project? Of course. In detail!
  • Scale up. Do I really need to explain? More monkeys!!!

Pro Tip : People are unreliable and error-prone. Excel never lies. Spreadsheets are the rock you will build your career upon.

There’s plenty of power in these techniques, but there is no such thing as a silver bullet. In a next episode, we’ll investigate how to improve your Real Manager status through the power of frequent meetings and detailed time tracking.

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