Dealing with management & marketing
Thanks for the opportunity to chat!
Here's the situation: I'll spend months designing and developing an app,
being careful to ensure that every interested party knows what's going on.
I'll release the beta version and then cometh the Requests From Marketing:
"Gee, this looks great, but can you add a button that creates anitmatter?"
It would really help the marketing campaign. Can it be ready by next
Arrggghhh! These people KNEW what the app would and would not do, yet they
still make requests that would take weeks to implement. I've tried numerous
techniques to prevent this problem, such as sign-offs on the feature list,
demo apps and periodic status reports, but it never seems to help. Any
Re: Dealing with management & marketing
Well, you could hire a tough bodyguard to keep the marketing folks away :-)
What you really need is someone in management who has the integrity and grit
to say "no" (or in some cases, "we'll see, but no promises") to those who
would want to make Version 2-level changes in a Version 1 product. If you
work for a small company where you are the manager, then it will be a tough
job for you.
I once worked for a large UNIX vendor. The marketing department got the
"great" idea that we should release an updated UNIX release every three months.
At that time, it took eight to ten weeks to build and certify a full UNIX
release, so that left only two weeks for modifications! After three cycles
(9 months), some manager finally had the guts to confront both marketing
and higher management about the problem. Unfortunately, it did not happen
until we had released basically three worthless updates to the product.
I really like the steps that you have taken to protect the product from scope
creep. As the designer and developer of the product, you are an "owner"
of the application. You may not be a legal owner, but you have ownership
in the sense that you bear some responsibility for the success of the project.
If outside forces attempt to hinder that goal, you need to take action (in
this case, through appropriate management channels). In a larger company
with obstinate management, your hands may be tied until you can convince
someone with authority as to the necessity of your steadfastness.
If I was in your case, I would (with the assistance of my manager) meet with
the marketing group and lay out the situation. Be honest about the real
impact their request would have on the project (its timeline, its cost, its
retesting requirements, its impact on the customer). Make them feel that
they have a part in the planning for Version 2 of the product (even though
you gave them every possible chance for involvement up to this point). People
have two traits that make project success difficult: 1) _short memories_
as to the chances you gave them for earlier involvement, and 2) _greed_ in
desiring features without understanding the consequences of their requests.
Given human nature, you will not be able to avoid these aspects, but you
can deal with them when they appear.
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