Golden Rules for Program Managers: #5

Be Neutral

It's been said that a software development project is like a rubber band and all the functional representatives (development engineers, QE engineers, tech pubs writers, localization managers, support team, etc.) are holding the rubber band and standing in a circle. Your job as the program manager is to make sure the rubber band stays in the shape of a circle. If anyone starts to pull too hard on their part and the shape goes out of whack, you have to either bring them back into line or give the others a chance to pull on their parts equally hard so that your band regains its shape.

You don't want to ship a product that's egg-shaped or oblong. Round is good.

The only way to achieve this is if you, the program manager, are neutral on all fronts. When a contentious issue comes up you can't show a bias for one solution or another - you have to investigate the issue and weigh all the options with a single-minded focus: what's the best thing for the product?

Comments:

To stay neutral and unbiased at all times is an art.

Posted by Xiangxiang on November 18, 2006 at 04:47 AM CST #

This metaphor is really interesting. But I guess it is not easy to achieve this. I am not a program manager but I can think from an engineer's point of view. How could he/she collect all the opinions and go through without any conflicts? It is hard, I believe.

Posted by rebliu on December 07, 2006 at 06:14 PM CST #

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