Thursday, April 06, 2006

Pipe Management

I have had the misfortune from time to time to work for project managers who function like Unix pipes. I have also worked for companies where the collective consciousness exhibits similar characteristics.

My understanding of Unix pipes is that they perform relatively simple operations on whatever input they are given, and then produce some output.

In comparison, Pipe Managers have no recollection of what has already happened. There is no concept of what is yet to come. They operate purely in the present. No planning ahead. No tracking.

Working for a Pipe Manager is horrible if you like any degree of structure. Any plans you make will be adjusted. Anything you try to do will be interrupted. They lurch from crisis to crisis, entirely reactive. Any date they give you can't be trusted. Priorities shift from day to day, or hour to hour.

The existence of methodologies doesn't seem to make much difference to them. They can be fully PRINCE2 accredited, and carry on in exactly the same manner. (Actually, perhaps I shouldn't even think of starting on PRINCE2. I have lots of things to say about it, but not many of them are very positive.)

If only I could believe that Pipe Managers were a dying breed. But there are loads of them, and they don't seem to be going away.


Alcuin Bramerton said...

A pipe is a portal. It conducts entities from domain to domain without judgement.

Qenny said...

Lack of judgement. Yeah, that sounds about right.