Monday, August 29, 2005

Work vs. Progress

In Work vs. Progress, Scott Berkun writes about the difficulty of measuring progress in software development and other creative activities. We all know hours worked, lines of code, and other simple metrics don't really measure progress. Managers depend on such metrics only because the alternative is wicked hard.

Berkun outlines some smarter approaches to setting goals and measuring progress, but there is no silver bullet. Each software project has its own challenges, constraints and personalities. A good manager has a bag of tricks, but must adapt to the situation at hand. On this blog, I have often complained about short-sighted managers, but I haven't often acknowledged this simple fact: Software project management is an extremely difficult job. It is easy for software developers to complain about bad managers, but few of us could do a better job.

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