Friday, September 14, 2007

Programmers are from Mars, Customers are from Venus, but why does everyone think that Project Managers are from Uranus?

Hi everyone,
Can you please email me if you are planning on coming to this session on monday the 24th,  so that I can order snacks and ensure I have enough handouts?  I'll forgive you if you can't make it on the day though.  Modesty aside, I think you'll learn lots of useful stuff if you do - including the most useful tool I've ever used.
When you email me - at - can you also tell me:
1) Are you a manager, a non-manager or other/both?
2) Can you tell me something that annoys you about "them", in general.  You can send me a few annoyances if you like, or none.  A couple of sentences per annoyance should do.  I'll collate them offline.
It would help if you write it in the form
 - As a developer/analyst/tester/other I find it really annoying when my project manager does this ...
 - As a PM I find it really annoying when my staff [doen't] do this ...
e.g. As a project manager I find it annoying when I ask my developers how long a task will take and they ask me "how long is a piece of string?.
e.g. As a developer I find it annoying when my Project Manager doesn't give me enough time to do my job properly.
e.g. As a developer I hate it when my PM prints of code I've written, reads it over the weekend, then gives me corrections - written in read ink - on Monday morning.
It'd be helpful if you tell me if this behaviour happened in an Agile environment or other.

Monday, September 10, 2007

AgileScotland September session: Programmers may be from Mars, Customers may be from Venus, but why does everyone think that Project Managers are from

Programmers may be from Mars, Customers may be from Venus ... but why does everyone think that Project Managers are from Uranus ?

An agile workshop facilitated by Clarke Ching, September 24th, 2007.
What? I spent a good part of my career thinking that Project Managers are either well meaning idiots or bad intentioned manipulators. All that went away, of course, when I started managing projects and I discovered that most Project Managers are - just like developers - good people trying to do a hard job.

This session will explore the causes of common conflicts between the "workers" and the "managers" on software projects. We will discover that most of the conflicts are caused by "the system" rather than the "people". We will discover ways around these conflicts … and make our jobs easier and more fun.

This is a great opportunity to discover what motivates and concerns "them". You'll also learn how to use a powerful tool for uncovering and then resolving conflicts in a win-win manner. You'll also help me write my book.

[This session will also be run later this year at AgileYorkshire and (hopefully) XPDay2007.]

Who? Clarke Ching is a New Zealander who now lives in Scotland. He is a passionate advocate of agile software development and is chairman of the AgileScotland special interest group, which meets monthly in Edinburgh. Clarke has an MBA specializing in technology management and currently is writing a book (, which explains why working on and managing software projects often feels like pushing rocks uphill and shows how to use lean, quality, and agile techniques to make them easier, more productive, and predictable.

When are Where? We'll be meeting at the SKM offices in the 160 Dundee Street building, Edinburgh, EH11 1DQ at 19:30 on Monday September 24th. The offices are between Fountainbridge Leisure complex and the Victor Paris Bathroom Shop.