Why Project Focused Mentality is Killing Software Development

This post is from www.agile-doctor.com by Larry Apke.

So, the other day I was listening to NPR in the car (like most people when they listen to talk radio). And the talk was about peace in the Middle East. One of the experts mentioned that, in his opinion, unless both sides owned the process, it was never going to come to fruition. This reminded me of Mark Fritz, international speaker on leadership in today’s organizations, and a compelling blog post he wrote about ownership. I thought this was interesting because there was an interwoven thought he drew upon throughout the post that I believe is applicable to Agile and software development:

“You never wash a rental car.”

I have used a similar phrase many times before when describing the project-centric mentality that pervades most large software development shops. I tell people that, in order to have good quality code, in order to do the right things by the code (BDD/TDD, continuous integration, etc), you must own the code. Therefore, we must move from project to product management, from renting our code to owning the code. So now you know why my brain went from the Middle East to Mark Fritz to rental cars, and now here we are!

Also, I distinctly remember a recent talk when I proposed that in order for better quality products we must eliminate the PMO and replace it with a PPMO (Product and Project Management Office). Interestingly enough, I remember this talk was given to a roomful of project managers who conveniently heard the first part of the phrase and not the second part.

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