The Unbearable Lightness of Being...Simple

PMI Puget Sound Chapter

Ken Whitaker of Leading Software Maniacs (LSM) has more than 25 years of software development executive leadership and training experience in a variety of technology roles and industries. He has led commercial software teams at Software Publishing (remember Harvard Graphics?), Data General, embedded systems software companies, and enterprise software suppliers. Ken is an active PMI member, Project Management Professional (PMP) certified, and a Certified ScrumMaster (CSM). Sources for LSM's material come from case studies, personal leadership experience, the PMI Project Management Book of Knowledge (PMBOK Guide) and Ken's leadership books: Managing Software Maniacs, Principles of Software Development Leadership and I'm Not God, I'm Just a Project Manager.

Most of us in project management and software leadership roles have to contend with the degree of detail and control we choose to use with our project team and stakeholders. Sometimes you can rely on the experience of the “audience” as a barometer of how much project management to impose in order to get a project completed on time (the D-U-N-N or “ship that pig” milestone). The range can be quite huge, from minimal to an enormous amount of information. Often we attempt to strike a balance somewhere in the middle.

I maintain that there is another way to strike the right level of project management, and it is affectionately called “Jus’ E’Nuff” (The Jethro Bodine way of saying “Just Enough”) project management. Some background…

Case Study 1: Endless Meetings
Years ago, I lead an engineering team in a large software engineering organization that had a huge PMO monitoring and controlling key projects. There was such a commitment to project management that a PM was assigned to each product development team. There were frequent team meetings (at least once or twice a week) that became marathons of status checking and re-evaluation of resources for specific tasks. These meetings tended to take at least half a day. Multiply that time by the number of team players (15) and you had a huge investment. One …

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'Human existence must be a kind of error. It may be said of it: "It is bad today and every day it will get worse, until the worst of all happens."'

- Arthur Schopenhauer