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         Communication Aspects in Software Engineering

23 September 2010

How to deal with your PM

Filed under: Business Analysis,Project Management — Tags: — admin @ 21:44

I sometimes have discussions with people who are facing challenges when dealing with their Project Manager. Here are some tips that one may find useful.

I hear you say:

  • The PM is shallow. He has little knowledge and understanding about what we’re doing.
  • The PM is bossy. She wants to decide about everything.
  • The PM is phony. His thanks are over the top and patronizing.
  • She takes my work and run it around without asking me. It’s not even finished.

Project Managers are drivers per character. This means that they are doers and they want to:

  • be in charge and in control
  • be centre of attention
  • be respected
  • get things done

They are good at:

  • organizing things
  • checking and following-up
  • persisting and pushing
  • getting the job done
  • focusing and delivering
  • quick to get it and quick to make decisions

They are ambitious and competitive. They tend to fight with other drivers. Their worst nightmare is to lose face (e.g. be proven wrong in public). Of all the characters, the drivers are the ones who know themselves and others the less, on average. They have difficulties listening to others. They like and need support. Drivers are usually protective of people who support them.

In the IT industry, Business Analysts and Developers can be perfectionists. This means that they dislike being put under pressure. They like to be given the time to do things properly. They judge people by how much they know.

Project Managers usually aren’t perfectionists and no matter how much they know, they cannot know as much as all the individuals in the team. Drivers judge people by how much they do.

Get to know your PM… In order to help improve the relationship with your PM:

  • You may want to take on yourself to improve his knowledge and provide information in the form of summaries where you can. Team Wikis and/or regular information emails can yield good results.
  • Try to influence her while letting her make the decision. Don’t put yourself in opposition to her decision, especially not in front of other people. Tell her that you will think about it. Then later, without witness, argue your point by providing additional information, and allow her to change her mind while saving face.
  • You will impress him by responding promptly to his requests and volunteer feedback on progress for longer assignments.
  • Keep her informed as to how much work you’ve been doing on a regular basis. It can take the form of daily emails for example.
  • Don’t tell long stories. Get and stay to the point. 

Tips for the PMs:

  • Endeavor to know yourself – you will always be “bossy”, but you can be refined instead of in your face. Read about the different characters.
  • Endeavor to know about the project and what the team is doing. Read and read some more.
  • Trust and empower your team… Refrain from deciding all the time. How do you feel when your Manager wants to decide about everything?
  • Good Managers are flexible and understanding with their team. They know how to avoid hurting the motivation of team members.
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2 Comments »

  1. Nice words, as a PM i would love to circle this through the team. Love the get to the point directive.

    Comment by Adam — 7 October 2010 @ 16:19

  2. Also, Drivers are good lecturers. They love to give a good lecture. It is often the way one can spot a Driver.
    However they hate being on the receiving end of one…

    Comment by John — 13 October 2010 @ 21:17

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