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Tools For Entrepreneurs: Managing Software Development

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In 2001, I got a job I wasn’t qualified for.

I was hired by a big oil company to lead a new project with dozens of developers to build a product that would be used by every employee in the company.

No pressure, right?

On the first day, the hiring manager realized I was in way over my head and pulled me aside to tell me I had 2 weeks to “figure things out”.

Umm… ok?

I had no clue what that meant… but the stakes were clear, and I couldn’t lose this project.

I hadn’t worked in 2 months and if I failed, it meant moving back in with my parents.

In this week’s video I share the journey of how I went from a newbie leader on the verge of being forced onto my mother’s couch…

… to someone who successfully managed a multi-million dollar project for 2 years.

The best way for me to show you the difference is by using a real world example…

… so this week I use our new set design (it’s still not finished – it’s an iteration away but watch the video above to check it out).

I worked with my buddy Tim to build it out and let’s just say there were some hiccups.

So in many ways this video is for him… a primer on how to manage projects with a bend on software (my world)!

I go over:

— How to use time blocking to define constraints & force creativity

— How to write outcome driven user stories to set expectations

— Why you should prototype the unknowns

— The right way to validate interdepencies amongst various departments

I also wrap up with a myth that needs to be squashed around “planning” and why nothing works out the way it should and how to overcome that.

Recently I got a call from a founder who had invested $1.5M into a software project.

It had been 2 years and they still hadn’t launched.

In many ways, this video is for them, too.

Now it’s your turn… what have you learned about managing projects over the years?

What are some tricks for keeping people on scope, on budget and on track?

Leave a comment with your best strategies!


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