Stoplights, gauges, dials for project status…who thought of this?
For most projects, we do status reporting on a weekly basis. On a special few, we do status once or twice a day. Somebody, somewhere, thinks by saying to the project team “if you don’t do what we tell you, we are going to turn the project red” will change how the project team will work.
Here’s the deal for anyone who cares to know. Developers (programmers, coders, whatever you want to call them) work hard to make their code work because they feel dumb when it doesn’t work. Calling them into meetings to tell them how important the project is, making them fill out a paper report on a frequent basis, and threatening that you will turn the project red if they don’t fix the problems won’t make them work harder or faster. It might give them good anecdotes for their next coffee break – or for the beer after a long night – but it will seldom give you the result you are hoping to achieve.
It takes a special kind of person to know how to motivate these creative coder minds. I am one of those people. I can convince them to do almost anything when it comes to project delivery. And why is that? Because…
- I believe in them or they wouldn’t be on my team – people understand they earn the right to be a coder working for me.
- I understand them because I was a coder and I love what can be done with code.
- I care about them in a way that is hard to explain, but I’ll try – I want to get them to do what they do best (coding and making things work), and keep them away from things they don’t (meetings, written reports, and political discussions).
- I treat them with the respect and awe they deserve when they achieve great results, and challenge and coach them when they don’t.
I get the need for status and dashboards and keeping tabs on things and I am often the person creating or reviewing the dashboard reports. I just wish we could keep the coders at their desks working while we are talking about the stoplights and coding those projects green, yellow, and red.
Tech Thursday. Mostly green today with a slight chance of red.