Four Project Management Lessons You Can Learn From Software Engineers

Jan 31 2014, 8:32am CST | by

Four Project Management Lessons You Can Learn From Software Engineers


By Gideon Kimbrell, founder, InList.com/>

You’re probably familiar with Steve Jobs’ legendary vision and relentless management style. Some managers mistake his abrasive, difficult disposition for the key to his success, not a byproduct of it. They replicate the least important aspects of his management style because they were the most visible. Consequently, they miss the real reasons Apple succeeded under his control.

Part of what made Jobs so successful was his constant push to keep projects moving while communicating with his team to ensure they were working toward a shared vision. He didn’t want to just make a phone — he wanted to change the way people thought of phones. With such a lofty goal, it was important that everyone involved with the project was constantly working toward that end.

Using these cornerstones, managers can focus and motivate their team to get projects completed on schedule.

Create Structure

Apple has long utilized a schedule of annual product releases and software updates. This structure is fundamental to keeping projects moving forward and team members constantly innovating.

Specifically, regular meetings avoid wasting time with long email chains. They avoid the redundancy of having to address the same concerns multiple times. Ambitious deadlines push everyone beyond their comfort zones and compensate for unexpected delays.

Don’t Just Listen — Understand

There’s a big difference between listening and understanding, and mistaking the two can be the difference between an effective project manager and an inadequate one. Make sure you understand everyone on your team — and make sure they understand you.

Don’t just ask them if they understand — make them demonstrate it, and do the same yourself. If everyone is constantly showing they’re on the same page, they will keep moving forward.

Don’t Underestimate Inspiration

Often, managers will dismiss the importance of inspiration as a Hollywood cliché. They might say people should be intrinsically motivated and if they’re not, they should work on another project. But actively inspiring your team is vital for effective project management. This is particularly true when employees need to make unexpected changes on something they spent months developing. They need to understand why the change was made and how it will help make the product better.

The easiest way to inspire your team is perhaps the most obvious: Get to know each of them. Discover their goals and where they want to be in three years. Help them move toward that place, and never get in their way.

Communicate

Structure, understanding, and inspiration depend on the one irreplaceable management skill: communication. No matter what type of project you’re working on or what industry you work in, communication is the only way to succeed. There are different methods for being an effective communicator, but if you aren’t reaching your team, you’re not going to succeed.

The best way to get through to your team is to be genuine. Don’t say things you don’t believe, and don’t do anything to undermine your message. If you stress accountability and a shared vision, don’t let anyone slide on those principles. Be someone your team can depend on and look to for guidance. Expressing phony enthusiasm or inconsistency will leave your team questioning you./>/>

Ultimately, people will judge you on the project’s outcome. If you don’t reach your goals, it doesn’t matter how inspirational you were or how many meetings you had. The only thing that matters in the end is the result. As a leader, you need a team behind you that’s focused and reliable. Once you have that, it’s up to you to motivate them and drive the project through to completion.

Gideon Kimbrell is a Miami,FL software engineer and serial entrepreneur. His software engineering work has been praised by companies such as Johnson & Johnson, Barnes & Noble and St Jude Children’s Hospital. Born in Montana in a log cabin, he entered university at age 15. By 16 he had programmed his first “hot or not” style website. He is the founder of InList.com. InList curates the most exclusive international nightlife and charity events.

The Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, YEC recently launched StartupCollective, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses.

Source: Forbes Apple

 
 

Don't miss ...

 

<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/30" rel="author">Forbes</a>
Forbes is among the most trusted resources for the world's business and investment leaders, providing them the uncompromising commentary, concise analysis, relevant tools and real-time reporting they need to succeed at work, profit from investing and have fun with the rewards of winning.

 

blog comments powered by Disqus

Latest stories

Indian-born scientist wins prestigious US award
Washington, Sep 3 (IANS) India-born scientist Dr Thomas John Colacot has won the American Chemical Society's ACS Award in Industrial Chemistry, one of the top honours in the field.
 
 
Cannabis could be as addictive as drugs
New York, Sep 2 (IANS) As more people are able to obtain and consume cannabis legally for medical and, in some states in the US, recreational use, people are less likely to perceive it as addictive or harmful. But a research study proves otherwise.
 
 
New sensor to detect tiny, individual nano-particles
Washington, Sep 2 (IANS) In a major breakthrough, a team of researchers has developed a new sensor that can detect and count nano-particles, at sizes as small as ten nano-metres, one at a time.
 
 
Experiential purchases more satisfying than material ones
New York, Sep 2 (IANS) Spending money doing things or buying experiences makes people feel a lot more happier than spending money on material things, a study says.
 
 
 

Latest from the Network

PM Modi wraps up Japan visit, flies home
Tokyo, Sep 3 (IANS) Prime Minister Narendra Modi wrapped up his five-day visit to Japan Wednesday and flew home. He is expected to arrive at New Delhi in the evening. During his visit, Japan promised to give $35...
Read more on Politics Balla
 
Indian-born scientist wins prestigious US award
Washington, Sep 3 (IANS) India-born scientist Dr Thomas John Colacot has won the American Chemical Society's ACS Award in Industrial Chemistry, one of the top honours in the field. Colacot, who studied at St Berchman'...
Read more on Apple Balla
 
Beheading of second journalist shocks US; White House in crisis mode
Washington, Sep 3 (IANS) As the beheading of a second American journalist by the Islamic State (IS) terror group sent shock waves through the nation, US President Barack Obama authorised 350 additional troops be...
Read more on Ad Balla
 
Suge Knight knows who shot him
Suge Knight says he knows who shot him at Chris Brown's party last month. The 49-year-old music producer, who was shot six times at the 'Loyal' hitmaker's pre-bash for the MTV Video Music Awards (VMAs) at 1Oak nightclub...
Read more on Celebrity Balla
 
Claire Danes says motherhood is challenging
Claire Danes admits she sometimes resents being a mother. The 'Homeland' actress, who has a 21-month-old son, Cyrus, with husband Hugh Dancy, also says marriage is hard, but insists she is besotted with both of the men...
Read more on Celebrity Balla
 
China's yuan weakens
Beijing, Sep 3 (IANS) The value of the Chinese currency renminbi, or the yuan, retreated 13 basis points to 6.1697 against the US dollar in its central parity Wednesday, authorities said. In China's foreign exchange...
Read more on Business Balla
 
Miltos Yerolemou joins 'Star Wars Episode VII' cast
Los Angeles, Sep 3 (IANS) Miltos Yerolemou, who was seen as swordsman Syrio Forel in TV show "Game of Thrones", joins the cast of "Star Wars Episode VII". Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher and Mark Hamill return as Han...
Read more on Celebrity Balla
 
No link between Ebola outbreaks in West Africa, DRC : WHO
Geneva, Sep 3 (IANS) The World Health Organisation Tuesday said the outbreak in Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is "a distinct and independent event", with no relationship to the epidemic in West Africa. Based on...
Read more on Business Balla
 
US warplanes drop leaflets on Iraqi city
Baghdad, Sep 3 (IANS/EFE) US warplanes Tuesday dropped thousands of leaflets on the northern Iraqi city of Mosul, urging residents to keep clear of places occupied by the Islamic State (IS) extremist group that overran...
Read more on Politics Balla
 
US CDC calls for global response against Ebola
Washington, Sep 3 (IANS/EFE) The head of US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Tuesday warned of the risk that the Ebola outbreak could get out of control without a greater worldwide response. "This is...
Read more on Business Balla