What can managers learn from software developers?

Wednesday, February 12th, 2014 By Jack Nevison

Want to be a better project manager? You can learn a lot from software engineers. They must motivate teams of skilled programmers to design and test a product while working under a tight deadline.

How do they do it? In several ways, according to a recent article on Forbes. which cites the management style implemented by Steve Jobs at Apple.

First, software engineers focus on creating a workable structure. This means, among other things, holding regular meetings to save time, and setting "ambitious deadlines" that "push everyone beyond their comfort zone and compensate for unexpected delays."

Another important factor is knowing the difference between listening and understanding. When talking to your team, "Don't just ask them if they understand—make them demonstrate it, and do the same yourself."

Don't miss out on the opportunity to inspire your team. Inspiration doesn't come from a hokey Hollywood speech, but rather from a genuine understanding of your team. "Get to know each of them…and where they want to be in three years." Then help them get there.

Last but not least, good communication skills are essential This means being honest and genuine with your team, and never saying or doing "anything to undermine your message." Consistent communication, backed up by congruent actions, builds trust among team members. "A focused and reliable team" will enable you to manage your project to a successful outcome—the truest measure of good management.

At New Leaf Project Management, our 2-day program, "Leading the Project Team," shows you how to motivate your team to perform at the highest level. In addition, our QPM games and other online offerings let you learn while you earn PDU credits for PMP recertification.

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