It’s Friday, so it is time for part 4 in the series that Time magazine calls "… a breakthrough in blogging."  Ok, they didn’t say that, but I’m sure they would if this series was actually a breakthrough in blogging. 

Practice Dragon Management

Dragon Management is a brand new approach to managing your peons that is guaranteed to bring you riches while keeping the office a barren wasteland of productivity and sorrow (because we all know that productivity is directly related to pain and suffering; that’s why they whipped the slaves that were building the pyramids!)  It’s the best thing to happen to software development projects since the UML and Rationale Rose!

The idea behind Dragon Management is to become like a mythical dragon, swooping in when least expected and laying waste to everything the peons have tried to build (because it sucks anyway).  Getting started is easy, just follow this simple procedure:

  1. Disappear and disengage from the project completely, for weeks at a time if possible.
    It doesn’t matter that you’re the project manager/owner/whatever, you don’t really need to do much aside from collect your check.  In your absence, the peons will have no choice but to step up and do your work for you, like planning, identifying business requirements, etc.  Do your best to have no interaction with the team at all.  Don’t answer E-mail, don’t answer your phone… if you do this correctly, they should wonder whether or not you’ve died.
  2. Wait for the team to make progress and become organized.
    At this point, the peons should be well on their way to building something (that will assuredly suck because they are nowhere near as brilliant or as dedicated as you are).  They probably  have something that they call a "plan" (whatever the hell that is), and they may no longer describe their work environment as "a hellish wasteland of poor management."  They may still try to contact you during this stage to keep you updated on what they’re doing.  Remember to ignore them!  Give them no indication that you still even exist.  Like the mythical dragon of old, you want them to begin doubting that you exist at all.  That sets the stage for…
    Make your triumphant return to the project with a vengeance.  You’re going to borrow a page from Trogdor the Burninator and burninate the place to the ground.  That "plan" the developers created or this "methodology" that they adopted?  Throw it all out the window!  All the progress they’ve made?  Tell them to scrap it all because it is wrong and it sucks and they suck and make them start over.  You may notice that one peon (or perhaps a council of peons) has stepped in to the power vacuum that was created in Step 1 and tried to "keep things running" in your absence.  Burninate these people with extreme burnination.  If they’re not crying, you aren’t burninating hard enough.
    For the next few weeks, be sure to drastically alter everyone’s focus and the project requirements ever single day.  We’ll talk more about this in a future post.
  4. Go to step 1.
    At this point, the office should once again be a barren wasteland devoid of all hope and happiness.  This is *exactly* what you want!  Now the peons can be productive (because sorrow is to peons what Brawndo is to plants).  It is now safe to completely disappear again.

There you have it.  Stay tuned for upcoming Dragon Management seminars, books, and more… Success stories may be a while.  Apparently everyone who has tried this is too busy cashing their Internet Success checks to tell us about how well Dragon Management works.