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best way to move into a proj management role?

i am interested in some various opinions on how to move into a proj. management? i find that coding isn't exciting me like it once was. and i'm interested more in what is involved to develop a good software product.

ultimately, i would like to be with a software development company that cares about producing a quality sofware product. but, i'm open to "steps" along the way.

advice appreciated!

Patrick
Tuesday, August 10, 2004

"like to be with a software development company that cares about producing a quality sofware product"

Good luck with that.

xxx
Tuesday, August 10, 2004

step 1: learn how to use a decent project management app/tool?

Kenny
Tuesday, August 10, 2004

1. Attend business conferences thrown by vendors whose products are used by your company, but with whom you have no relationship nor plans for any relationship with.

2. Take weeks at a time off during the summer by alternating vacation time with company-paid seminar time.  Eat steak and lobster on Siemens' and Yahoo's dime.

3. Occasionally phone into the office to hassle your programmers with 'is it done yet?', 'whatcha workin' on?' types of nonsense calls.  Threaten to call a meeting upon your return, to ask the same boneheaded questions.

4. Take up golf.  Buy silly-assed shoes.  Learn to utter "Hot enough for ya?", "Watch out for this guy, ho ho!", and "How 'bout those Jets?" often and at seemingly random intervals.

5. Get divorced from your spouse.  Relate the story incessantly to your 'subordinates'.  Also tell them about your time at every conference and/or vacation spot in excruciating detail.  Do this in status meetings where no one can run away.

These are just a few steps you can try.  If I think of any more I'll let you know.

muppet
Tuesday, August 10, 2004

6.  Micromanage, micromanage, micromanage.

muppet
Tuesday, August 10, 2004

7.  Remember that you don't NEED to schedule meeting time.  Just pop in.  Do this at least 3 times every weekday, to keep everybody honest.  You don't need to check any programmers' calendars first, they're your staff and you own 'em.

muppet
Tuesday, August 10, 2004

you are hilarous muppett!

Patrick
Tuesday, August 10, 2004

Hey muppet, you forgot to mention this one:

Hire your illiterate nephew as team-leader and get him to completely change the project architecture / technology every two months.

Nemesis
Tuesday, August 10, 2004

Ultimately, you're asking (at least as how I see it), "How can I get promoted."

Answer that question and you will have answered the original question.

Yoey
Tuesday, August 10, 2004

Interestingly enough, there are really 2 paths to PM - the dev path and the non-dev path.

If you work in a company that tends to hire and promote from within, the key to moving into PM is to simply take on increasing levels of responsibility, making sure you get your face out there.  The best way to do this is to be available and proactive, seek out the tasks which face the PM / Product Managers / CS reps / Salespeople.

Otherwise, it's possible to move into a PM role with little or no technical experience, as long as you have at least some experience in an organizational / managerial role.  I have seen several PM's come from account exec roles in the past.

Sassy
Tuesday, August 10, 2004

Read some books that look at the bigger picture: Peopleware (Tom DeMarco & Timothy Lister) and The Mythical Man-Month (Frederick Brooks) are both interesting.  Then start volunteering: when you see things are slipping in your current project, offer to step in and apply some of what you've learnt.

Management love a volunteer, it saves them having to make a decision.

Steve Power
Tuesday, August 10, 2004

How does your shop score on the Joel Test?

http://www.joelonsoftware.com/articles/fog0000000043.html

If there are areas in which your team can improve, take it upon yourself to effect those changes.  I work on a two man team where we both know the other guy wants to be a PM and I want to be a coding god, so he does about a third of the coding I do.  He devotes the extra time to initiatives that demonstrate how he is leading our team to improved processes and effectiveness.  He also is the primary "face" of our team to the other stakeholders in our projects.  When he moves on he should be able to demonstrate on his resume that he "led the development team in X to result in increased Y" and how his engagement of stakeholders shaped the course of projects.

I can't say yet if it's going to work, but it seems like a pragmatic approach with pretty good odds.  As for me, maybe someday I'll have similar ambitions.  I'm pretty sure I'll never actually become a coding god -- can one even qualify whilst never writing un-managed code?

OffMyMeds
Tuesday, August 10, 2004

"Hire your illiterate nephew..."

I didn't know muppet was his boss's nephew.

OffMyMeds
Tuesday, August 10, 2004

i thought of the joel test before and we rate a 5 or 6. we are weak in automation. of course, it is an MS Access/VBA/SQL Server app.

i read the mythical man month and loved it. i recently read "Coder to Developer" which was excellent! The PeopleWare book  by Demarco is next.

i am starting some extra stuff here to move things forward. but, i do feel i need to do more.

Patrick
Tuesday, August 10, 2004


Start practicing on your *own* projects.

Once you can demonstrate that you can estimate and track budgets, issues, customer requirements, timelines, etc, your boss will start directing more and more of these things your way and you will naturally move into this position.

I have started this in my company and it's becoming *very* beneficial...

KC
Tuesday, August 10, 2004

Start by capitalizing your I's.

chris
Tuesday, August 10, 2004

"Start by capitalizing your I's."

Then dot your T's.  And watch your P's and Q's.

Jim Rankin
Tuesday, August 10, 2004

If you can´t code, then you get promoted to PM.
Simple as that.

coward
Tuesday, August 10, 2004

figure out what skills you think a PM should have in whatever organisation you want to work for.

These will be different for different companies. Some prefer non tech savy PMs with strong business/domain knowledge. Others prefer PMs that have strong tech background. YMMV

then honestly assess whether you have the said skills.

If not, acquire the skills.

either way show them to whowever cares
- CV
- Performance Review

Tapiwa
Tuesday, August 10, 2004

"If you can´t code, then you get promoted to PM.
Simple as that. "

While that's a nifty little cliche and stereotype rolled into one, it doesn't do much to explain the countless companies that have great project managers that were also great software developers.

Frequently, the best PMs have had successful software development backgrounds.

Nah
Tuesday, August 10, 2004

"it doesn't do much to explain the countless companies that have great project managers that were also great software developers"

Really? Where are they?

Getting back to the OP, make sure you ask for "high level, ball park estimates" of when something can be done. If the estimate is less than you thought, make it a hard milestone that the developer has to meet. If it's more than you thought, add more scope to the project and hold the developer to it.

Anony Coward
Tuesday, August 10, 2004

One other thing. Draw a "Project Organization Chart" with yourself at the top and everyone (including the real managers) reporting to you.

Anony Coward
Tuesday, August 10, 2004

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