Bruce F. Webster: Down-to-Earth Management

By Bruce F. Webster Print this article Print

Distributed development is pretty hard, and a lot of projects founder because of the difficulties encountered in those projects.

Finally, there’s the down-to-earth issue of management.

If you’re the manager for a distributed IT project, how do you manage your personnel successfully? How do you know what they’re doing and how they feel about it? I’ve managed groups of developers on large, long-term projects; you need to be able to walk around and talk to each developer regularly and casually.

Again, picking up the phone or sending e-mail is not the same as a quiet (or not-so-quiet) heart-to-heart in a private office or conference room.

Good team management can make a significant difference in a project’s success or failure, and it’s not as though IT engineers are the easiest group in the world to manage (the joke about “herding cats” was around for at least a decade or two before someone made a commercial about it).

Distributed development makes management just that much harder.

In short, distributed development is hard, and a lot of projects founder because of those difficulties. Next week, we’ll talk about some successful real-world techniques of distributed development that may help you make it work in your own projects.

Bruce F. Webster is an international IT consultant. You can reach him at bwebster@bfwa.com or via his Web sites at brucefwebster.com and bfwa.com.
© 2008 Bruce F. Webster

This article was originally published on 2008-07-07
Webster is Principal and Founder at at Bruce F. Webster & Associates LLC. He works with organizations to help them evaluate troubled or failed information technology (IT) projects, or to assess IT systems and products for possible investment/acquisition. He has also worked in several dozen legal cases as a consultant and as a testifying expert, both in the United States and Japan.
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