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Exaggerated And Distorted

The figure below provides a UML class diagram (“class” is such an appropriate word for this blarticle) model of the Manager-Developer relationship in most software development orgs around the globe. The model is so ubiquitous that you can replace the “Developer” class with a more generic “Knowledge Worker” class. Only the Code(), Test(), and Integrate() behaviors in the “Developer” class need to be modified for increased global applicability.

Everyone knows that this current model of developing software leads to schedule and cost overruns. The bigger the project, the bigger the overruns. D’oh!

In this article and this interview, Watts Humphrey trumps up his Team Software Process (TSP) as the cure for the disease. The figure below depicts an exaggerated and distorted model of the manger-developer relationship in Watts’s TSP. Of course, it’s an exaggerated and distorted view because it sprang forth from my twisted and tortured mind. Watts says, and I wholeheartedly agree (I really do!), that the only way to fix the dysfunction bred by the current way of doing things is to push the management activities out of the Manager class and down into the Developer class (can you say “empowerment”, sic?). But wait. What’s wrong with this picture? Is it so distorted and exaggerated that there’s not one grain of truth in it? Decide for yourself.

Even if my model is “corrected” by Watts himself so that the Manager class actually adds value to the revolutionary TSP-based system, do you think it’s pragmatically workable in any org structured as a CCH? Besides reallocating the control tasks from Manager to Developer, is there anything that needs to socially change for the new system to have a chance of decreasing schedule and cost overruns (hint: reallocation of stature and respect)? What about the reward and compensation system?  Does that need to change (hint: increased workload/responsibility on one side and decreased workload/responsibility on the other)? How many orgs do you know of that aren’t structured as a crystalized CCH?

Strangely (or not?), Watts doesn’t seem to address these social system implications of his TSP. Maybe he does, but I just haven’t seen his explanations.

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