The Nine Obsessions of the Extraordinary Software Development Manager

The Nine Obsessions of the Extraordinary Software Development Manager

The key to successful management is to spot a few things that will make a difference in your organisation and then concentrate on doing them.

If you are looking for ways of fostering sustainable success within your role as a software development manager, whether in a small, medium or large organisation, this list might help provide some insights. Insights which might serve in the task of contributing to the emergence of improved health for your organisation.

  1. Attending to needs
    • Attending to the needs of the folks within the software development group.
    • Attending to the needs of other folks – within the business yet outside the software development group.
    • Attending to the needs of the business (as a proxy for the needs of e.g. customers, executives and shareholders).
  2. Emphasising service
    • Championing the role of the software development group in exploring, monitoring, understanding and serving the needs of the business and its constituent parts.
  3. Aligning to the bigger picture
    • Participating in modelling the business as a whole, and the part the software development function plays in that.
    • Understanding the software development capabilities the business needs now and in the future.
    • Working to evolve those capabilities in a timely fashion.
  4. Nurturing an environment where people find joy in working together and giving of their best
    • Understanding the nature of knowledge work and the fundamental differences this entails for “managing” – compared with e.g. “factory work”.
  5. Working with the grain of your organisation’s mindset
    • Working to minimise organisational cognitive dissonance.
    • Understanding the impact (risk) of specific change initiatives.
    • Preparing for organisational (mindset) transformations (e.g. Analytic to Synergistic) – where feasible.
  6. Getting out of the building
    • Understanding customers and their needs, and the relationship between your organisation and the wider world.
  7. Over-communicating
    • Building a shared mental model of the role of the software development group and its relationship with the purpose of the business as a whole.
  8. Making friends
    • “No man is an island”. Having friends makes the whole experience of being a dynamic software development manager more bearable.
  9. Being seen to be human
    • Nobody likes being treated like a cog in the machine, a drone, a fungible resource. Developers least of all. People have feelings, needs and aspirations. Being seen to be human is the gateway to improving relationships within and without the software development group.

For brevity, I’ve refrained from expanding this list with i.e. narrative explanations. Should you have any specific questions, I’d be happy to elaborate.

– Bob

Further Reading

How to Be a Great Software Development Manager ~ Bob Marshall
Four Obsessions Of An Extraordinary Executive ~ Patrick Lencioni

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