Aunty Entity: Coffee and Gap Fleecy Jumpers
Dear Aunty Entity,
I’m currently working as a programmer. How do I become a project manager? I’m sure I can do it because everyone tells me what a good manager I am and all the project managers seem to do around here is swan around drinking coffee and having long lunches. How can I make the switch?
Signed, Code Freak
Dear Mr Freak,
A promoter told me once, back in my heady club days of the early 90s and after a couple of weeks of hanging round the DJ booth, that I’d be perfect as a nightclub gogo dancer. I thought I was sex on legs for weeks until I found out the club they wanted to hire me for was an over 60s drag act at a sportsbar in the suburbs….
There’s this myth perpetuated in some development garages (oh yes, you know who you are – you can bet your GAP fleecy jumpers), who think that a PM’s only required skill is to be able to talk to people. Yes this might be true especially if they also happen to be extremely good looking. However, in most cases a project manager’s life is essentially about making sure every team member has the tools to do their job and can function effectively. This means that a project manager needs to understand the role of each member, what their skills sets are and how best to use them to deliver a project. They also need to be able to keep the team working together in an effective manner. Not all that easy when you consider an online project may include a designer, an HTML developer, database developer, copywriter and programmer… then there is the hosting nightmare and we haven’t even gotten to the client’s quirky little nuances yet…..
Styles of project management may vary according depending on they type of project you are working on or the culture of the working environment. As a project manager you should be able to read the signs and ‘slot’ in accordingly. It certainly helps to have a technical background but some of the people and negotiation skills might take years to acquire.
So if I hear another developer in the back room grumbling about a PM not being worth the paper their cheese sandwich is wrapped in I shall put a stiletto through their red and beige crumbler laptop bag.
Dear Aunty Entity,
My manager assumes it is her right to get me to make her coffee in the morning when I’m busy doing my work. What should I do?
Some bosses assume this is their right though it’s a little hard to refuse… they are your boss after all.
One fine morning, cheerily present her with said coffee but first, ensure your fingernails are black with grime and there is a large, thick curly hair firmly stuck around the lip line of the rim.
However, be prepared for HR to call you into the office later that week to ask if ‘everything is OK at home’.