In our first article on Agile Management Philosophy, we outlined three evaluation criteria:
Now that you’ve created a structure for managing your own time and deliverables, we’ll dive into aspects of managing your client. We use the word “client” broadly here to refer to a boss, product manager/owner, or internal/external client.
Our agenda for this week of training is the following:
There are a number of things your client is going to want to know before and during any type of engagement that you need to be prepared to answer:
Your commitments need to be backed with some type of evidence or experience and you should be confident in what you provide. Exact commitments for software projects are never black and white so communication and transparency are key so clients understand dependencies and assumptions.
You're going to need to keep your client in the loop on projects and deliverables. Every client will have varying levels of detail they care about which you can calibrate over time. Here are some important items you’ll want to be transparent about when they arise:
Generally it is good to have weekly or bi-weekly status meetings so that there is dedicated time to address these issues.
Ownership is one of the key pillars we discuss throughout our MIT program. All good managers and leaders take responsibility not only for their work, but also for the success of their team and company. Having an ownership mindset is one of the most valuable things you can offer a client. Here are some behavior differences between those that have it and those that don’t:
Listening to Feedback & Taking Criticism
Listening is one of the most important skills to master on your way to becoming a manager. Your client may offer feedback in a direct manner or indirect manner, but it is up to you to listen and adjust. Often the difference between a mature developer and someone more junior is an ability to listen.
Individuals and teams cannot improve without feedback which is why it is a crucial part of the process. Actively asking for feedback helps us gain the trust of the client and prevents potential setbacks.
What if your client isn’t offering feedback? It is up to you to be proactive and ask periodically.
The next stage of developing your EIQ is how you recognize and deal with emotions with your Client:
As the program continues, the role playing starts to increase in difficulty putting the manager-in-training in more difficult and conflicting scenarios. Here are some we like to use to evaluate managing your client:
Now that you’ve successfully managed your time, deliverables, and your client, you are ready to take on a team. The work isn’t done, managing others brings on a new set of challenges. Read our Managing a Team article to learn more.
Here are links to all posts in this series: