Chapter 10. Management and Leadership

Many management books sell themselves as lists of "best practices" that, if followed, will yield projects that are planned and executed smoothly and without any problems. Most people who try to follow those practices find that it is much harder to do in practice than the books led them to believe. Projects are not always predictable. The organization's needs may change; people may quit or be transferred into or out of the team; or the goals of the project or the climate in which the organization does its business may change. A project manager usually cannot control any of these things.

The tools and techniques in this book will help solve the most common problems that plague software projects. But there are many other ways that a project can go wrong, and it is impossible to prepare in advance for all of them. It is up to you, the project manager, to be smart. You should use these tools when you can. But you will undoubtedly come across issues or problems that these practices simply do not address, and it is your job to think your way through the solution. If you keep in mind some sound engineering principles and fundamental ideas about management, you stand a better chance of leading your projects through these problems and, in the end, delivering better software.

It is also part of your job as a manager and a leader to adequately explain the decisions that you are making, and to keep the team's interest in line with the organization's interests—and ...

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