As a manager in charge of technical professionals, I have learned that managing projects with multiple team members requires certain people skills, as well as technical skills. In the world of management, there are many skills required when it comes to the management of people. These skills, and how you apply them, vary depending on the type of business you are in, as well as the type of people whom you manage.
The size of your project teams can affect their productivity. As a general rule, keep your teams small to keep them productive. It seems that in the software business, a large majority of problems occur as a byproduct to the efforts of large group of people. Some companies tend to solve a problem by gathering a large team of people and instructing them to fix it. In our industry, this is almost never successful. The reason for this, is because when your team is very large, an individualís contribution to the solution is very small. This, in turn, leads to a drop in overall productivity.
There are many industry examples of this phenomenon. The fact of the matter remains, that the smaller the team is, the faster the members of the team will work. When you add too many members to a team, you actually make the project take longer, because of the overall drop in productivity. This may seem shocking to you, because it does not make sense on paper, but it does occur in our industry. This may not be a problem for small to medium sized companies, but for the bigger companies this can be a serious problem.
If you have a large project that does require a substantial amount of members, it would be beneficial to break the larger project down into smaller subprojects. Keeping the teams small and focused on certain pieces of the puzzle will help keep productivity at a maximum, and your project on schedule.
In summation, technical professionals are people just like everyone else that you work with. But due to the nature of how they think, and more specifically how they work it is important to understand how to deal with them from a management level. Iím hoping that my experiences with managing technical people will be beneficial in helping you better understand your technical staff, if not be better equipped to manage them.