Dealing with management & marketing


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Thread: Dealing with management & marketing

  1. #1
    Mark Newman Guest

    Dealing with management & marketing

    Hi Tim,

    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
    Tuesday?"

    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
    ideas?

    Thanks!

    Mark


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  2. #2
    Tim Patrick Guest

    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.
    -----
    Tim Patrick
    tim@vbstyleguide.com


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