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Discussion on: Devs Shouldn't Report to PMs

frankszendzielarz profile image
Frank Szendzielarz • Edited

This is very interesting.

I would fully agree if the following sentence was slightly rephrased, or with just a little extra qualification:

"The issue is that an engineering manager has different deliverables than a product manager"

W.Edwards Deming has been credited with transforming Japanese manufacturing to such an extent that Japan itself became an economic powerhouse as a result of those changes. His influence was a mere philosophical change: that quality should be the focus, and that when quality is the focus, quantity of deliveries improves.

How right he was.

So in an environment like Deming's Japanese manufacturing plants, the engineering manager's deliverable and the product manager's deliverable are in perfect alignment. Not only that but their goals are too.

The issue is not, as your sentence suggests, that these two managerial roles have different deliverables, but that some organisations make the profound error of defining those roles as having different goals.

bytebodger profile image
Adam Nathaniel Davis Author

Yes, I absolutely agree. There is no theoretical reason why the PM's goals and the devs' goals need to be (or even should be) different. That's what Deming was getting to with regard to things like mission statements and vision statements - the idea that every person in the org, from the janitor to the CEO, should all be rowing in the same direction. But in practice, this is too often not the case. In practice, I've seen too many times where the PM is hellbent on delivering whatever the client asked for - to the letter - even if it means delivering a crappy, brittle, bug-ridden project.