Tuesday, February 5, 2013
I see I have four of them today alone.
True story. I know someone. I won't say it's me. Someone else. Sally. Her name was Sally N. Body, Team Lead. See, couldn't be me. Different name. Different gender. He...she...worked very hard to cover the gap left when the project PM wasn't involved in the release management work brokering fixes with the multiple business units, determining final deliverable list, coordinating with testing, ux, mobile, release management, upper management, and a number of other teams. Not a bad spot to be, but in trying to ensure quality of the release, extending him...her...self a little further than was typical, and definitely stepping on the PMs territory, particularly as the PM couldn't say what was going into the release or what the communication was that was going on after hours. The PM then scheduled multiple estimation meetings to plan feature work for future iterations that were almost impossible to attend given the time crunch. Not only creating a time issue for Sally, who showed up, but additional work beyond the estimation meetings related to the business tracking down Sally after the estimation meetings for a full debrief because they couldn't show up to the ad hoc estimation meetings.
Lesson learned, say it out loud, "This meeting shall not come to pass!" Particularly if the business can't attend. That's Sally's job as the one who's going to be forced to regurgitate the same meeting several times. We don't do meetings without the business, because then we have to do the meeting twice. Or thrice. By we, I mean Sally, and her team. Picking up the extra work for the release is fine. The coach's roll (the lead) expands toward release as the PM's role shrinks (there's a shift in the focus of the roles), so it's natural, and the coach with the technical chops is much better suited to the emergencies arising between layers, but that means the PM should acknowledge that their role is reduced, the team coach's role is expanded, and the meetings have to dovetail other priorities.
The lesson that should be learned by the PM, and anyone in the same situation, a golden business rule of sorts: if someone is making your job easier, don't take advantage of it to make their job more difficult.
Snarky: Thanks for picking up my work this week. It allowed me time to get all our estimation meetings on the calendar.
Title: I see I have four of them today alone.