Management is about care

For whole my conscious project management career I was and I am now a believer that manager’s great goal and destination is to help other people to be successful in what they are doing. Indeed, manager does nothing with his own hands. He has to do everything to make sure his subordinates are productive, creative and effective.

From my experience it is very important to give all team members a “sense of utility”, they need to see that what they are doing is important to someone, that someone appreciates their accomplishments. At the end of the day you want to develop pride of workmanship (how it is called in new MSF) in your people. Roots of this principle are in Edward W. Deming’s 14 Points for Management (pay attention to point #7).

If it is not possible to provide developers with connection to user and customer, or when these connections have long round-trips; as a manager you can take this on yourself. To do that I regularly, at least once a day, I walk around the office to talk with developers at their workplaces. I want to find out what they are working on, what difficulties they have, give advice and compliment for accomplishments. Not only I want to show them my care, I really want to help them do their job better. And I do that via informal one-on-one meetings that generally allow developers to feel more comfortable than on formal scheduled in advance meetings. Recently I came across interesting discussion of this technique by Jim and Michele McCarthy. I suggest you check out their podcast to learn more about One-on-One.