Low Impact Management also applies to running technical projects. Micro-managing is a waste of time and energy, and drives developers to despair.
Introducing agile techniques such as pair programming and short iterations through example and opportunity, rather then by mandate and overbearing authority, ensures that developers feel comfortable picking up new techniques, and reduces the risk that they’ll feel pressure to perform.
Pressure is no bad thing, but as a manager you should ensure that your programmers work in a framework where a bit of pressure gains results, rather than simply increasing stress and fracturing the team. Developers tend to be the kind of people that perform well under stress, but they shouldn’t constantly be fighting agile build systems, or have new techniques forced upon them. Many agile consultancies see their ideas as the silver bullet that, once applied, makes any developer perform, and any project succeed.
Those of us that have read the book know better.
Ten years ago, OO using Java was the silver bullet. Before that, CORBA ensured a strong revenue stream for technical consultants. What we have to learn is that there isn’t one practice that works 100% for every team, and that we need the wisdom to pick and choose from the best of the bunch. That’s where agile consultants can earn their bread – through advice rather than proscription. It’s Low Impact Management.