Don’t Put This Guy On My Project

A friend just forwarded to me this hilarious analysis of Bush’s performance at the debates last night: George Bush as programming project leader

Last night, while watching the first of the Kerry/Bush debates, I was struck by what a terrible programming project leader President Bush would make.

He kept repeating the importance of staying on the course that was originally set out on, even in the face of things not going as planned: “the way to win this is to be steadfast and resolved and to follow through on the plan.” He also said that changing course would be demoralizing to the troops: “What kind of message does it say to our troops in harm’s way, ‘wrong war, wrong place, wrong time?'”

I certainly know that that approach doesn’t work on programming projects. If there’s one thing that seasoned programmers know, it’s that projects never go as planned, and course correction is critical. Even worse, the programmers in the trenches know how the project is going, and aren’t inspired when things carry on as if nothing is wrong. For a project leader to act as if there are no problems is insulting to those doing the work.

Indeed, this kind of thinking would make for a horrible project manager of any sort! This is certainly not the iterative procss that I came to learn from my Rational Unified Process training. When you have new information, new problems, and new requirements, you evaluate your current course of action and you adjust as required. To fail to do so is to ensure that your project will yield the wrong result.