Skip to main content

Don't Call People Resources

I know that in project management, people are considered resources in the same way that raw materials are considered resources, but for software development projects I have found it counterproductive to treat people like so many interchangeable parts.

The success of a software project hinges on the interactions among many people, including the client, subject matter experts, project managers, testers, trainers and developers.  In addition to their experience and expertise, these people bring with them their personalities and communications styles. 

Because software development is more a team exercise, like filming a movie, than an individual exercise, like writing a book, the overall team dynamic is just as important as individual qualifications.   It is quite possible to put together a team of people with excellent resumes who will be quite ineffective when forced to work with one another.

I have run into clients who focus excessively on comparing resumes as if they provide an indication of future success.   Some of the best resumes I have seen belong to work avoiders who spend more time finding others to blame than accepting responsibility and getting things done.  Job hoppers have more interesting resumes than steady performers that stay with companies and projects for the long haul.

So many project methodologies are now used that you need to ensure everyone is on the same page.   Approaches and activities that work in one methodology are disastrous for others.  Excessive love of methodology and documentation over working software is ever more pernicious.

Experience of people who have worked as a team is a great asset for a software project.   Knowing the strengths and weaknesses of team members helps project managers and technical leads assign tasks to the right people, and to know how those people should be managed.   Some need close attention with frequent interaction, and others need time alone to do their work.  Some people will thrive in the intense pressure of a war room environment, while others will crumble.

So even if you call them resources on your project plan, don't treat people like resources if you want your project to succeed.

Popular posts from this blog

The DATA Act Driving Grant Management Automation

The Digital Accountability and Transparency Act enacted in May 2014 calls for making spending data available in open, standardized formats to be published online.  It is a continuation of transparency initiatives and lessons learned with experiences such as grants.gov, the 2009 economic stimulus under the Recovery Act and the spending site USASpending.gov.

Government grantees will have significant new administrative responsibilities.  Many organizations that were tracking grants in spreadsheets or documents will have to adopt more sophisticated automated grant management systems such as Microsoft Grants Manager to keep up with reporting rules.

For profit companies will lose some privacy as a result of this law.  Grant recipients will be required to disclose information including officer salaries.

Continued improvements to publishing grant opportunities such as grants.gov may make it easier to find grants. These reforms together are designed to improve the effectiveness of grant prog…

Key Concepts for Microsoft Dynamics 365: Entities and Attributes

To understand Microsoft Dynamics 365 (formerly Dynamics CRM and Dynamics 365 Customer Engagement), you need to learn some new terms and concepts that may be a bit different from what you know from databases and solutions that are hosted on premises. This is the second post in a series, and covers entities and attributes.

Entities are the most fundamental part of Dynamics 365 in terms of storing your business data.  They are similar in concept to database tables, and the relate to one another like tables in a relational database. For instance, Dynamics 365 has an entity called Contacts that stores data such as name, address, and email address of people that you track.   Accounts is a related entity that describes the organizations to which Contacts may belong.

Although they are similar to database tables, Dynamics entities allow you to do some customizations that are not possible in a standard database table.  Field labels, for instance, are part of an entity, and they may differ from …

Dynamics 365 for Auditing Activities

Many government and commercial organizations are responsible for conducting audits of financial and other performance in order to ensure compliance with regulations.

Microsoft Dynamics 365 offers a rich platform for automating auditing activities.  Here are some of the key functions that Dynamics 365 and Office 365 can perform for auditors:


Schedule visits. The Field Service app for Dynamics 365 includes a dispatcher console, and a module to assign auditors and schedule their visits or inspections.  It can also track other resources such as equipment which is used for field audits. Manage documents.  Dynamics 365 is integrated with SharePoint and also Azure Blob Storage.  This means that files may be associated with audit records, and searched using Microsoft search technologies which index full text and metadata. Generate notifications. Alerts via email or other communication channels (such as text messages) may be generated with Dynamics 365 automated workflows.  The messages are bas…