Why Developers Hate Project Managers

( an excerpt from my book in progress, ” . . . And Your IT Smells Funny!” )

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But when “Testing Day” came, something odd happened.

The scenario script called for the testers to use features that were never mentioned in the requirements document . . . and if they were never in the requirements document then they never could have been turned into code.  When I raised this point, “Allison” explained that the night before she had been brainstorming about features she thought our application ought to have had, and added them to the test.

I explained we could discuss adding them in a future version, but it was too late for us to go back and add them in the present version now that we were in the final testing stage.  She said she understood and told the testers to ignore that section because it didn’t apply right now.

But a couple of days later, she wrote an email to me and my supervisor explaining that the test had failed– specifically citing the  same features she had added at the last minute.  Naturally, she didn’t mention in the email to my supervisor that those features had never been included in the requirements document, and I spent a good portion of my morning explaining to my supervisor that I was a web developer, not a mind reader.

When I had a private word with “Allison’s” supervisor about her duplicitous behavior, she told me I was “overreacting” and being “too sensitive.”  Gee, that sounds both familiar and patronizing.

I wish I could say that “Allison’s” behavior was an isolated incident, but it isn’t.  I’ve had another project manager (“Lydia”) tell me that the director of my department had authorized her to pull resources from other groups, only to learn later on that no such conversation ever happened.  I’ve had a third project manager (“Karen”) hand me documentation for a software client that was “borrowed” from other offices without their knowledge or consent– and I wound up losing a friendship over that particular incident.

In short, I’ve worked with many project managers over two decades and noticed a “Say Anything  To Get What You Want” mentality appears to be a common shared trait.  I’m also not the only one who has noticed this trait; some other developers I’ve worked with keep a list of project managers they refuse to work with again.

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One Reply to “Why Developers Hate Project Managers”

  1. Someone pointed out to me that all the project manager names I listed in this blog entry happen to be female. To be clear, that does not mean I’m saying only female project managers have the “Say Anything” issue. It means the majority of project managers I’ve worked with in my career happen to have been female.

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