Tiaan du Plessis

Project People, don't be fake. Be lekker.

Project owner: Hi, How are you?
Me: I'm a bit under the weather, but doing okay thanks. How about you?
Project owner: I need you to... [Insert request here]

The number of times I've gotten into this kind of conversation with a project manager/owner is quite shocking. To me at least.

The person is obviously just baiting to open up a conversion. Irrespective of my answer, it usually follows up with a request for some progress update on work that I didn't even know I should be doing or a ticket that needs attention ASAP otherwise the company will surely go under.

Building great software is dependent on good communication and relationships. It is hard to have these things if it feels like the other person is just trying to get the information they need and get out. Later on, it gets to the point that a feeling of dread transpires as soon as you get a message from that person. I mean, they only talk to you when they need something. You then start actively start avoiding the message to focus on the work you have planned. Messages from this person have effectively become a mini backlog.

Some of the worst project owners/managers will then proceed to spam you on every possible channel of communication they have available. Them having the information they need is more important than anything happening in your life. I've had a couple of Saturdays ruined with this kind of behavior. If this becomes your approach to managing, then there is something seriously wrong. You need a better process in place and learn to trust your team.

TLDR; If you ask someone how they are doing, you need to genuinely care about the answer. If not, rather just be direct.

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