Developer-Driven Project Management

  • Author Cory Shivers
  • Updated 23 Mar, 2023
  • Time 8 Min Read

Often, we receive feedback from clients about how we operate—particularly the absence of project managers on our team. Interestingly enough this approach enables us to release more features more rapidly than larger organizations with more resources.

Our viewpoint is not a personal criticism of project managers; I have encountered many exceptional PMs. However, when assessing our development process and exploring ways to add more value for our clients, I often struggle to justify the value a project manager would provide to our team beyond the current contributions from our developers.

This viewpoint does not negate the importance of data gathering, customer research, feature development, and project organization. Rather, we believe these duties should be assigned to individuals more directly involved in the implementation process. We empower our developers and designers to tackle challenges head-on rather than providing them a predefined set of solutions.

At RhinoStack, we designate a 'Consigliere' role for each project. This person takes on PM responsibilities while still functioning as a regular contributor. Our developer-centric approach cultivates a sense of ownership and commitment among developers.

As Consiglieres, developers are responsible for the following:

  • Initiating the project in our management tool and organizing it as necessary, including setting up task lists.
  • Conducting project meetings, creating agendas, raising questions, facilitating discussions, and presenting demos for feedback.
  • Drafting project status updates that summarize achievements and outline future tasks.
  • Sharing project updates with relevant parties
  • Collaborating with external teams when needed.

Most developers joining our team have limited experience in project management, and initially, the Consigliere role can be daunting. However, after completing their first project, they are keen to take on the role again.

Although we have experienced notable success using this approach, we do not recommend immediately firing your existing PMs. Rather than employing a project manager for every project, consider adjusting their responsibilities in ways that can add even more value. The results may surprise you.

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