Endless meetings, evenings in front of two monitors searching for a bug a code segment or just commenting functions (oh yes, unbelievable but there are still developers who comment their code 😉 ), finally the application was launched successfully and the customer is happy and satisfied. Well some projects are just… let’s say exhausting!
I was project manager on the mentioned project above, a mid-class web application with a database backend and a web service delivering data from one database to another and allowing customers to access predefined data. The concept was cool and the team small and skilled. We have been good in time the whole developing process long and so we could add some time to the testing phase.
While my job was to allocate and distribute the jobs and the resources, always the budget and the deadline in mind, to take part in designing the database and the framework, always the liking of the other developers in mind, to set up the web service, always the demand of the customer in mind, and to be the management-development interface, always both sides this of the management and this of the software developers in mind, the developers could concentrate on the real work: the development. This sounds like I am not that pleased with my job as a project manager but this is not true. I have to admit that I like to be under that stress of having several tasks to be under that pressure of trying to do a job within a given budget, to work up a sweat while deadline approaches and all that stuff but I miss that coding. I am a software developer and the job is everything I live for but where are the good old days where I was given a milestone and a target specification and I just was heading for the goal, where I spent nights over nights in front of my flickering monitor looking how to create a high-performance function, where my only worry was to minimize table-lookups on a database or to minimize function calls or to encapsulate some classes. I miss those days but that’s the way life goes.
Today I explain the developer what the management wants the application to do and trying to explain the customer what the developers need for working all this out or how long several tasks will take until they are finished.
Time changes and so some things also are changing. I try to get involved in as many developer-related work as possible and I also try to make as most work (coding and database design) as possible but compared with the other stuff this is only about 30% of the work. The other 70% are for meetings, reviews, time tracking of co-workers, recalculating budget, dividing the time…. all that stuff a software developer doesn’t do in usual. And you know what? Nevertheless I like it…
Never mind. I’m still a software developer and I always will be.