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 last piece of advice I have for dealing with management is to be realistic. Iím sure that most people reading this are familiar with Scotty from the original Star Trek series. He would always tell Captain Kirk that is was going to take forever to get those engines working, and two minutes later they were zooming through space at warp speed.
Now, Iím going to brandish my geek credentials for all to see. In an episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation called ďRelicsĒ, Scotty makes a guest appearance on the new Enterprise with their chief engineer, Geordi LaForge. During the show, Captain Picard asks Geordi for estimates on fixing different technical problems. Each time, Geordi gives a precise estimate of how much time he believes it will take. Scotty, standing nearby, is aghast that Geordi told the truth. Scotty then encourages Geordi always inflate the time dramatically, so that when it was fixed quickly, he could seem like a miracle worker.
What Scotty didnít understand about the Enterprise of the future is the same thing that many technical professionals today donít understand about their team leaders today. Management, here on earth or on the starship Enterprise, is not looking for miracle workers. They are looking for team players that they can rely on. Each team member is a smaller part of a larger operation. The managerís job is to get the smaller members to operate in such a way that they can all achieve a common goal in an acceptable amount of time. By not being realistic about the time involved to fix something, or even on the impact of certain design changes, you could completely cause a major scheduling conflict and affect the timely delivery of your project.
Even worse, overestimating, underestimating, and/or exaggerating any facts can severely damage your credibility with your managers and others within your team and organization.