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Soviet PM Philosophy

December 5th, 2009 by Liesl received Comments Off on Soviet PM Philosophy

Last Friday I remembered a Soviet joke from an old IB history textbook that I used to like, so I decided to share it with a coworker:

Spy vs. Spy

Liesl: Why does the secret police always travel in threes?

Intrigued coworker: I don’t know, why?

Liesl: One can read, one can write, and one keeps an eye on the intellectuals.

Intrigued coworker: Is this your new project management philosophy?

After a good laugh, it got me thinking about the way we approach and often categorize “talent.” At HTC, for example, our office is in a nice open concept loft space. But there is a short wall, about waist height, separating the strategy/account team from the “talent” (developers, designers, etc.) Sometimes when we have a question too mind-bogglingly complex to ask via IM, we’ll discuss over the wall, in a Wilson-from-Home-Improvement-style exchange that usually clears things up pretty quickly (or leads to long, interesting email exchanges about development/design philosophy).

What I’ve realized I appreciate most in my coworkers, is that they all bring so much to the table, often skills that they technically don’t need for what they do (seriously, many of them can read AND write). We also all have unique points of view (POV), and often debate usability, information architecture, design, etc. to the benefit of the final product. At the same time, we all have our go-to areas of expertise, and when things get really busy, it’s easy to forget our coworkers’ POVs inform the totality of a solution, and we proceed to box everyone up in their particular niche. You have to: it’s crunch time.

But, particularly when in the planning phase, it is nice to know that I’m in the midst of a bunch of intellectuals, and that we can all keep an eye on each other to stay in the game.

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Posted under: Career, Project Management, Web Development


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