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Project Management discourages Discovery

“If I joined a new startup, I as a developer would talk to the customers myself.”

Somewhere along the line, as a company gets bigger, specialization kicks in.  Specialization leads to customer facing people who hide the developers from the customers. Developers for the most part don’t want to deal with people, and collude with this sealing off.  They don’t want to talk to customers.

These customer facing people become product owners, product managers, project managers, program managers. 

Each of those people want to do their job, and show they’re providing value to the company.    No one likes to feel useless, nor feel upper management should cut their job.

These managers see their most obvious job is to get the most possible from the developers.  They do it by tracking how fast the developers complete tasks those same managers give them.   The developers feel constrained and are unable to do great or deep work.  The developers have to spend mental energy and time with timesheets, or tracking how much time they spent on a task.

My first job after finishing school included spending a half day per week filling 3 separate timesheets.

Spending time filling in tickets and timesheets means  I’m more concerned with getting my tasks completed and not higher level innovating.  I don’t have the spare bandwidth to consider the higher level stuff.

“The little secret in product is that engineers are typically the best single source of innovation; yet, they are not even invited to the party in this process.” — Marty Cagan

I’ve spent the majority of my words in this post explaining my frustration with the “management” which accrues around developers.   Marty Cagan continues with Discovery is an active and ongoing collaboration between product, user experience design, and engineering.  If that’s true, I’d like to see it one day. 

Comment below, have you seen what’s Marty Cagan describes?