20 Things That Drive Web Project Managers Crazy

by , in Digital Project Management, with 12 comments -

Reading Rafael Mumme’s article, 20 Things That Drive Web Developers Crazy, had me giggling away like a child.

What I especially loved about Rafael’s article was that as well as being funny, it actually was a pretty accurate list that I bet so many web developers can relate to, and he was using this approach to raise awareness among visual designers about what makes web projects go tits up from his perspective.

A screenshot of Rafael Mumme's article on .net magazine

Rafael Mumme: My kinda man (no not like that!)

Although a different tactic, the desired result is similar to that which I will discuss in a new article I’m currently drafting, on resolving issues in web project management teams – one major point being to always educate colleagues about why certain things they do cause issues on web projects for others.

Of course, I just couldn’t help but jump on the bandwagon and immediately start drafting a list of the things that production teams do that really gets up Web Project Manager’s noses.

So, before I finish off some articles that defend you… Visual designers, Front-end Specialists, UX teams and Web Developers – please make sure you follow these guidelines if you want to get on the wrong side of your Web Project Manager :)

  1. Make sure to only fill in your timesheets at the end of the week, it adds excitement to a web project when on Friday morning we think we have 20% budget left but by the end of Friday we’re 5% over.
  2. When we chase you to make sure you’ve filled out your timesheet, remember to make the insightful point that while you’re doing this you’re not working. For bonus points ask how long you should add into your timesheets for the task of filling out your timesheets. As Web Project Managers we sometimes forget that the only reason we find the time is because we’re not as busy as you.
  3. When we ask you to complete a task, please don’t let us know when you’ve completed it – let us chase you, we love being kept on our toes.
  4. Keep drumming it into us that no one uses Windows or Internet Explorer anymore. Despite the analytics saying different, if you keep saying it, preferably with a sneer, then one day we’ll realise we’re wrong and thank you.
  5. Don’t waste time reading our detailed functional specifications, scan read it and get the general idea of the features, then just get coding as soon as possible – neither the client nor us will mind.
  6. Try not to open your work e-mail client more than once a day. Our e-mails to you are rarely important. But so you can stay on top of your industry, please keep your personal e-mail , Tweetdeck and IM client open at all times – you never know when that game changing Tweet will be published.
  7. Please do not spend twenty minutes setting up any rules in your work e-mail client. Having an Inbox with 3000 auto-generated messages from 40 applications has efficiency value that we just don’t want to admit.
  8. When finishing off a feature don’t waste time testing it thoroughly, that’s what we’re here for and we rely on to fill our days.
  9. When it comes to the boring part of a web project like content entry or browser testing, make sure to lower the quality level of your work – it highlights to us that you’re above it and that we should hire a junior to do this kind of work.
  10. No matter what, never ever test a website or web application on staging or production servers after deploying – if it worked on your local development environment it will definitely work on staging and production with no issues.
  11. If asked to make a change halfway through development of a template or feature, always assume this is due to Web Project Manager incompetence rather than client-lead.
  12. Keep pushing to go ‘lean’ and ‘agile’. Web Project Managers are old fashioned and always want to plan in detail despite the fact it’s incredibly boring and has no value. The real secret is to just start coding and see how it goes from there.
  13. If you find yourself with nothing to do, don’t come and tell us. Instead make use of the time by watching a few videos on YouTube or reading that blog you like so much.
  14. To help us keep our feet on the floor, please look at us with disgust and complain to someone on your table that we are useless because we don’t know web development like you – we know we really should be experts in all digital fields and are simply too lazy to learn.
  15. When we give you more work please take the time to look horrified. Web Project Managers often get so far up the senior management’s asses they start to believe it’s more work that keeps us all in jobs.
  16. When at lunch in the office and you’re sitting on a beanbag playing Xbox, don’t forget to mention how much better it probably is to work at another place where you don’t have to put up with the hardships you do at your current place.
  17. Never give up stating how constant interruptions break your flow. The trouble with Web Project Managers is they just don’t realise that it depends on what kind of interruption it is. Work-based interruptions from managers are disruptive, Twitter disruptions are not – it’s obvious when you think about it.
  18. When replying to e-mails that a Web Project Manager has CCd two other people on, don’t hit Reply All. This is tantamount to you being in a meeting and is a waste of your time.
  19. Absolutely never agree to “just code it dirty”. You know as well as I do that all Web Project Managers care about is their precious schedule and budget, and if they’re asking you to bypass best practice it’s probably for no other reason than because they don’t care about standards and isn’t a commercial decision.
  20. When anything goes wrong on a project, always blame the Web Project Manager just like Sir Alan does – this earns you big respect points amongst your peers.

As I said, my next few articles are all about defending you guys, so go easy on me :) actually don’t, blast me to hell and back in the comments, it’ll be fun.

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- Comments -

  • Now I understand the purpose of Rafael Mumme’s article – not to educate designers, but to have a rant and for developers to have a laugh! Because I chuckled at this!

  • David Rhodes

    Good luck!

  • You have a spelling error in no 14. Or are you too lazy? ;)

  • Paul Bowsher

    Actual lol mate. So true :)

  • Both funny and brave, a bit like Will Smith in Bad Boys.

  • Heh, glad you all enjoyed this one, was bloody fun to write :)

    Funnily enough people say I look a little like Will Smith… that was the short one in the Krankies right?

  • Funny. But I have to tell you, having served on both sides of the isle here, a project manager’s job gets easier when the developer is better. This unfortunately does not apply in reverse.

  • @Mike, I have to disagree with you I’m afraid.

    If I understand correctly you’re saying a developer’s job doesn’t get easier the better a Web Project Manager is?

    A bad Web Project Manager will:

    – Oversell to clients
    – Underestimate time
    – Not build in contingency
    – Treat developers like dog turd
    – Blame the developers for everything
    – Write inadequate briefs and specifications
    – Miscommunicate client requirements
    – Not understand the complexities of development

    I could go on, but all these things alone make a developer’s job harder on a day-to-day basis no?

    I’ve been on both sides too and found working for a good Web Project Manager sooooo much easier than when working with bad ones (which was infuriating!)

  • 20 things that drive a Web PM crazy! | This Interactive Life
  • Tiffany Kosa

    I would be careful with the legality of #2. There was a company here in Seattle sued not long ago for the 30 mins or whatever it takes the employees to walk to their area of employment from the public road. Can’t recall the case name, but just be careful!

    May 24, 2012  | 
  • So true, this is gold. Its so validating to read this, thanks Sam.

  • @Rachel, glad you enjoyed it :) as I said before, it was a really fun one to write!


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