|If it was easy we would figure out how to automate it.|
The creation of software is one of the few modern products we produce which is nearly impossible to automate. We have figured out how to automate plenty of things related to software development. Testing can be automated. DevOps demands the software building process to be automated. Anything which is repetitive and tedious can be automated. Writing software requires plenty of skill and practice to do it well. Someone needs to take the vague ideas of the business and turn them into something concrete so that the software developers can create something valuable.
It means authoring software is a human process. Human beings are notoriously messy and prone to error. If you accept the reality of human messiness, it is easy to understand why projects fail and work does not get done. A colleague of mine put it best when he said, “It all comes down to people, you can have the best process, but if the people can’t or won’t do it you are lost.”
Specialized professionals have come into being to help make sure the organizations keep going and the processes work. These people have plenty of different titles and roles. These people are scrum masters, project managers, and bosses of every conceivable size and strip. What united them all is they need to be good with people and have strong leadership skills.
The good news is there are plenty of good programs which teach leadership skills. Combined with practice and desire; anyone can become a competent leader. Thanks to the Agile Alliance and the Scrum Alliance, we can train skilled people to become Product Owners and Scrum Masters. These courses and training programs represent the science of project management. The art combines the technical aspects of scrum mastery and putting it together with the messy nature of human beings to create something new. It is not easy, and it is emotionally draining. If done right, it can generate millions of dollars in value. If done poorly, it resembles a tragically executed piece of performance art.
So leading projects is both an art and a science. The science understands the things like testing paradigms and the art enters the picture where you have someone with gout working late hours and not getting the work done. It is not easy to be nothing worthwhile is easy. So remember the art and science related to your role. You are going to need both.
Until next time.