Fireside Chat #46: Do we need project managers?

Ebunola Adenipekun

Ebunola Adenipekun

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At Codurance, our MDs Sandro Mancuso, Mashooq Badar and José Huerta regularly meet for informal chats. Meeting after work, these discussions, where they share their personal insights, form the basis of our Fireside Chats, which you can find on our YouTube Channel.

In this talk, the question posed was 'Do we need project managers?', to which the three MDs; Sandro, Mash and José had different answers...

The role of a project manager

José surmised that a Project Manager looks after the project's success and how success is measured could be by finishing on time and according to spec or on or under budget.

Friendly conflict

The friendly conflict came from the perspective of if managing the project should belong to one role or be integrated into the team: 

Sandro said: “I normally don't like the role, the project manager role and how it is performed, but I think that it needs to be managed and this is where the conversation for me gets very interesting because there are a lot of aspects of managing a project and that includes budgeting, the financial aspect, the return on investment. Are we meeting the requirements, are we satisfying our stakeholders? 

Structured planning

“Structured planning projections is important. And if you don't have a project manager doing that separately, the team needs to do that, either one person or a group of people. But that needs to be done providing an estimate, creating a roadmap, and giving the business an indication of when things are going to be done so that they can plan is essential.”

Mash said that the roles should be clearly distinguished: “I think that we should treasure [developers] because they can sit down and write code, a test drive code, but they can also take care of a full engagement. But sometimes in some engagements, I think that it is healthy to have some people that have management skills as long as they are part of the team, they are a team member.”

José added: "But overall, you always want, whether you [are] doing the role or whatever, you want people to be part of the team. You want that common goal and that inter dependance. Now in order to be able to achieve that goal, so that it's really a team and it can really help in making sure that the project is successful, that's the that would be kind of my take away in the many how you organise it."

Sandro commented: “Sometimes it's better to have an agile delivery manager or development manager, but someone that is looking after some of the mechanics, the management of the project, because they are skills on that on and they also free up some of the developers to focus on their core disciplines. But I don't think that is an either or. I think that the context is important where you are."

Mash felt: “You know, it is an important role. It's often looked at kind of disparagingly, sometimes by especially software developers. And I think you should look at it as just another role and another specialisation within the team that is actually adding a lot of value. You can name things, whatever you like, if the culture is not correct, if people are not well trained, if they are not aligned on the values, it doesn't matter.”