I am going to create new series in my blog called Advices to the novice project managers and I think it would be very helpful especially for software developers stepping into the project management field.
There are many occasions when a project manager is tempted to take on some development tasks especially if she is an experienced developer or when the project management activities don’t require full-time commitment. Things go worse when a technical issue arises and apparently there is no team member who can solve it. The project manager’s heart cannot restrain from plunging straight into the problem; she buries herself into that technical challenge and after that nothing can draw her attention back until a solution has been found.
This a very dangerous temptation and many former developers give in to it. The problem is that while you think about that specific technical problem you forget about all the other obligations you have as a project manager. As the old proverb says, you cannot see the forest from the trees. But your new position requires that you never lose sight of the forest.
If you cannot fill up your time with PM activities it is better that you manage several small projects than to work as a developer and a project manager at the same time. If it is really necessary to do development tasks, choose something more trivial and less important and delegate the more critical tasks to people who can devote their full time to them.
And in the end if the team collides with some technical issue that requires more time and research assign that task to a team member who can devote all her time to that issue and ask her to keep you informed every day about the progress. Sometimes it may require hiring an expert or communicating with the support center of the system software vendor – these activities require too much effort and focus that you shouldn’t assign them to yourself. If you want to develop as a project manager you shouldn’t lose the sight of “the big picture”.
This post is also available in Bulgarian language.
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