41

Conversation is Not Inherently Disruptive I work with a team of developers who are talented but often distract each other with chit-chat. You say they are "talented but distracted." What makes you think they are talented? Why do you think they are distracted? What is your metric for determining that the team or the process is operating at a sub-optimal ...


33

An effective status report tells your project stakeholders in a clear, concise manner where the project is at and how well it's going. Its main objective is to inform, and to be effective it needs to be factual, up-to-date, and easy to read and understand for your audience. Medium: email is fine for small projects, but for larger projects that have ...


30

For any measurement you use, programmers will figure out how to game it. The only true measure is whether they are delivering quality software on time. I think you're better off just being an active part of the team. Don't rely on numbers, rely on actual observation of how they perform, perhaps combined with comments from their peers. If you have a well ...


21

When taking over a troubled project, one of the very first things you need to do is to slow or stop the train. If you let it continue to move, you will most likely continue on the same path and unable to introduce any meaningful intervention. You need to get the sponsor at the table to redefine the project as if it is a new project. This means the ...


19

It is possible that a developer also acts as a product owner but I don't think that it is recommended. Here are my 2 main reasons: It may create conflict of interest It will drag down your output as a developer PO has to prioritize the backlog (the what part) where as the team decides amount of work that can be delivered in each sprint (the how-much part). ...


17

If you throw 10 random people together and assign them a complex, challenging task, with no other direction than 'go', these individuals will naturally evolve and gravitate to certain roles. This is a very natural phenomena and is defined by Belbin and others. Even if there is conflict with a certain role, it works itself out as the team gels with little ...


15

If this is a project that people are currently getting paid to work on: ABSOLUTELY NOT! First of all, the goals on the project should be plain and obvious, and on a software project, those goals can already be complicated. Get thorough designs in on time, get code completed on time with as few defects as possible, incorporate feedback from code reviews, ...


14

First, bring the discussion down to facts. It's not that you don't want to deal with another task or you feel you won't handle it but you know it and you can support it with hard data. Until you start discussing facts you may be facing the issue that PM is just adding things to your backpack and wait until it's clearly seen you have too much. There can be ...


14

The roles can vary between organizations. In general: A team may be working on several projects, each with its own project manager and/or project lead within the team (if the project is spread out between various teams). The team on the other hand has its own team manager or team lead (a matter of title in the organization). In SCRUM each team works on ...


13

First, every appraisal, no matter who does it, is arbitrary to some point. If someone isn't fine with that they should find a place where there's no appraisals at all. Second, for someone who is looking for feedback, more feedback should be always better than less feedback. I mean, even when I don't fully agree with someone's opinion it can still be very ...


12

Bugs: Programming generally involves taking many vague or abstract concepts and then tying them together to build something great. Judging developers based on the number of bugs in the code perhaps one of the worst ways an organization can shoot itself in the foot. In a world where everything is so pro-Agile, there is no blueprint to follow. We're not ...


11

Should we explicitly vote for a leader? For a so small number of people probably a leader isn't necessary. You can decide everything together with a simple voting system. A leader probably will make the other two feel not so happy. What are tips for making sure that it isn't only one person doing everything? You should try to share the work based on ...


11

TL; DR For the immediate future, you need to spend more time working with the Product Owner and less time focusing on the development team. You and the Product Owner both need to spend a couple of sprints refining your roles and learning to work together, and you both need to gain a better understanding of your respective roles in the Scrum process. Fix ...


10

I don't know why aclear16 deleted his answer. His answer is perfect. There are a ton of positives with idle, unproductive time by way of teaming. It matures the team and you want that. I'd even go as far to say that, if you are running behind, let the social time continue because the positive aspects of that will help, not hurt. And likely the down time was ...


10

First, stop measuring individual velocity. Velocity should be measured on a team level for a Sprint, and not for individuals. Your team delivers a potentially shippable software product after even Sprint, not individuals. Since Scrum is built around self-organizing, cross-functional teams, your velocity should include everything involved in creating the ...


9

Let it pass. Don't get involved. A wise friend of mine once said to never wrestle with a pig. The only thing that happens is the you get dirty and the pig has a good laugh.


9

One thing needs to be clarified here; the PM's role is NOT to develop any code. One role is the programmer, developer, etc... so I would hire people with technical skills required to do that role, and another different role is the Project Manager's. For this role, I would hire the person with the strongest capabilities to lead the project (if he or she has ...


9

I worked in teams that had anything from 1 tester per 1 developer through 1 tester per 10+ developers to no testers at all. Each of these was able to release software of expected quality (not each did but that's a different story). The short answer is of course it depends. However looking through the answers that are already here I found much about cost, ...


9

There are already a lot of theories and studies about motivation. Extrinsic motivators, like badges, awards, and money, have been studied and I believe the results show they are marginal at best, do nothing, or maybe even decrease motivation. The strongest motivators are intrinsic and are mastery, purpose, and autonomy. Follow the science....


9

Having done research (genetics, protein chemistry, proteomics and bioinformatics) and having been a project manager with a research team (pre-clinical research) I can tell you that, based on my experience, having a project manager - or at least awareness and implementation of project management best practices - is very helpful because: It helps keep the ...


8

I assume that you've already had one-on-one with 'the guy' and it didn't bring expected results. Wherever the root cause of this situation is (it may be in your behavior, your boss behavior, organization rules etc) the good way is to analyze problematic situations from the expert position. Expert doesn't blame anybody, he talks about facts and it's ...


8

After I have received some of them, I have found out that the sponsor wants more than what we have been programming for. How do I handle a situation like this? Part of what you need to do is triage the project: what can be finished, what can be finished only by scaling back and what cannot be finished in the time allowed (and needs to be dropped in "this ...


8

Two simple things I've found that can help any team. 1- Opinions lead to Ownership: The act of asking a person their opinion creates an ownership relationship. It’s practically an unconscious response. You are investing yourself in your opinion and that then extends to whatever the opinion was made against. I've used this with very resistant engineers, who ...


8

I am a fresh project manager, who grew up from developer. I noticed in my company, that knowledge of technical issues really helps me manage complex technical projects. It allows me to better understand developers , and when dealing with a client I can understand a lot more technical and business issues. I noticed that pm's in my company, who don't have ...


8

David was right on the spot when me wrote that the output matters (delivered values), so I have nothing else to share than a story. The company I'm working for have several sites, and I'd like to write about two specific sites: one, where the discussions can be as long as they needed and the other where the sponsors behave as you described. Both sides are ...


8

The first issue you must face: Are distractions good or bad? I think this can not be answered with either a clear yes or no. First, no developer can work 8h on end and still remain sane. On a good day you get 4-6h of concentrated work. But don't think that, since they are not sitting concentrated at their desk that they are "not doing work". In my ...


8

1) Accept the fact that the PO needs help and that the developers are the most qualified people to help. The product owner and the developers together form a team. Nobody's time is more or less important than another. They work together to develop software. The team can't be expected to use their valuable time effectively if they don't have good stories, so ...


8

While the Scrum Guide does not explicitly state whether the Scrum Master or Product Owner are, or are not part of the development team, they are part of the Scrum Team: The Scrum Team consists of a Product Owner, a Scrum Master, and the development team. Which infers that both the Product Owner and the Scrum Master operate outside of the development team....


8

The Scrum Guide is explicit that this is allowed: The Product Owner and Scrum Master roles are not included in this count unless they are also executing the work of the Sprint Backlog.


8

Let's tackle your questions from the last to the first: 3) Is there a reason why it seems like there isn't a lot of attention dedicated to this topic specifically? Yes, there is. The whole thing of project-management processes is about solving problems like inner-team communication, work sharing, team conflicts, responsibilities, ... the complexity of ...


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