Thou shalt take the fall – you novice C-PM


August 21, 2008.

Well, what can I say, it had to happen and it happened…

In my last post I had mentioned how a C-PM (Coder turned Project Manager) bungled his first project. One thing he was sure that he loved his team and his team understood why they were putting in the efforts they were putting… Alas…
When the project was nearing it’s end three people in the team dropped papers (resigned). In software industry churn in a team is an acceptable fact of life, but 60% of the team resigning sends alarm bells ringing all over the place… Hence starts the process of negotiations and re-conciliation and so on, in the end on my recommendation one person was retained by giving as much incentives as possible. Two people I had to let go because I felt they were not up to the mark. The person who was retained little do they know why they were offered those incentives. They believe that it’s their performance… haa haa…

Cut to my appraisal meeting: Face to face with my boss he presents me with the appraisal letter in an envelope, I set it aside and I tell him I need to have feedback on my performance. Little do I know I am in for the shock of my life…

With a project having overrun 400% with respect to time you don’t expect bouquets from your boss. I don’t know what I was expecting at that point but the following shook the roots of some of the things I believed in:

I was accused of not following processes. Not only by boss but according to him also my team members who had resigned said so during their exit interviews (including the one that was retained on my recommendation). Fact is I had minimal processes so why should I be shocked when someone says so?

Rewind: beginning of the project… It was my boss who has said, do what you want, I don’t want to impose strict processes etc etc etc, get the project successful… well it wasn’t successful so I guess all that support also gets washed away.

The minimal processes I had were:
1. Write good code. (if you can call that a process).
2. Following naming conventions.
3. Check in code on time.
4. Test your own work.
What did I get?
1. The code that was written by the so called seniors of the project was as neat as a pile of poo.
2. Naming conventions? What are they?
3. Code checkins? Well it works for me so why the hell bother about anything else.
4. “I changed two lines today and they work, why should I bother about the remaining 10K lines of code?”

So much so for processes. Next I was accused of incorrect estimations and lack of planning.
I would really like to meet that person who can estimate a software project correctly and can factor in client whims, disastrous code base, resource incompetence, company profit margins and ridiculous deadlines.
Next is planning. So what does that entail? Assumptions? I guess…

September 5, 2008

Note: I had started this piece as a vent to my fustration some time back, and then I had stopped. A lot of water has passed under the bridge since then… Still publishing it… I am sure C-PMs like me will have something of a takeaway from it. Least they can do it not make the mistakes I made…

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One thought on “Thou shalt take the fall – you novice C-PM

  1. Vinita Tanpure says:

    Very interesting blog! I will take some time to read all your postings.

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