Software project management… I read a number of books about this since, as I said in one of the previous post, it is an intriguing matter. One of the most frustrating aspects is how far are the best practices preached in those books from the industrial realities that I have experienced or that my friends and ex-coworkers tell me about.
I am quite confident that the techniques and approaches proposed in my readings are correct and proper, but everything has been written by Americans, based on researches in the US companies and deeply rooted in the US working culture.
Sometimes this is not applicable here in Italy. E.g. if in your team you have a person with a negative attitude toward the work and the team, at least one book suggests to fire him/her. This works in US where employees have not the right to be fired only for Good Reasons, not just because the employer changed his/her mind.
But this is mostly about details. There are stronger issues.
One could argue that part of the approach to working and to solve problems is part of the culture. I mean, every (US) study reports that programmers are by far more productive when they have their own private office. Peopleware suggests team-oriented (quiet) offices with no more than 4-5 people. In Mediterranean culture, people is considered much more socially oriented, so it could be possible that an Italian programmer would be more productive in an open space environment.
In the same way it could be possible that those, who would considered bad managers by the current literature standards, would be instead the best managers for Italians.
There is just one possible answer: try different approaches and measure the outcoming.
Given the current state of the Italian software development industry (which industry?) I am really doubtful that this could happen. Our industry is composed by ridiculously small companies that could face bankruptcy at every project gone wild. In this situation daring to risk a new approach that is known to work elsewhere, but could possibly not work here.
From my experience I could tell that I am much more comfortable (and productive) when the office is empty, rather than when it is crowded; also I am quite annoyed by interruption, not always, but I’d like to have a flag “do not interrupt” to have consistent time to concentrate. But… ehy I don’t like soccer, could I be considered Italian? 🙂
Apart from jokes, what do you think?