Do Managers Prey on Developer Pride?Filed Under Human Factors
It is well known fact that most developers suffer from a disease called egotism. The question I am currently pondering is if managers (either intentional or subconsciously) prey on this sense of pride.
A number of my previous articles seem to all have a reoccurring theme: developer over estimates, manager over commits, developer works late and takes blame.
There are many phases in the development lifecycle where this phenomenon occurs, and if compounded can be recipe for disaster.
Phase 1: Estimation
Managers know that developers suck at estimation – unfortunately, developers do not. As a result, developers compensate their inability to predict the future with an egotistical, artificial, low, single point estimation. Developers always will be held responsible for estimations not given in ranges and probability.
Phase 2: Perceived progress
While the project is in transit, again, it is the developer who is asked to give an estimate of perceived progress and velocity. Developers would rather give a optimistic report and use the Gut Instinct equation. “90% complete – 90% of the time”, and again the problem compounds.
Note: I wish people would start using Agile or SCRUM so this topic is mute…but I digress.
Phase 3: Fictitious end-game velocity
The project is now in trouble because developer’s suck at estimation through all phases of the development lifecycle. What is a developer to do? That’s right, work until 3 AM every night and never tell any one. Again pride comes into play here, and the result is managers come to find late nights the expectation rather than the exception.
It is my perception that during a project the developer ego grows to compensate for the lack of true insight. Consequently, the manager is presented with a best of both worlds option – the project outcome is on the shoulders of the developer and the manager is allowed to commit to fictitious schedules based on bad information.
What is your opinion? Are managers blind to this behavior? Do they allow it because it benefits them? Do we allow it because we are egotistical or narcissistic?