The player/coach

You don’t need another level of management. You don’t need to replace your project manager—or if you do, you’re looking at the wrong website right now. What you probably need is someone very experienced with the tools of the trade who also brings insight and strategic thinking.

It’s hard to get a good photo of Lou Boudreau these days, so this is Josh Taylor.

That’s right. I’m the Lou Boudreau of software development; I’m doing my part in the field and leveling up the whole team.

Ordinary consultants are too far away from the gritty reality of making stuff work. From the bleacher seats, it’s hard to give useful advice that isn’t generic. You get a better view on the field, and way more realistic feedback.

I’ve gotten really good at implementing big corporate software projects as a developer. I don’t do Gantt charts. I don’t spend a lot of time with upper management. I don’t get wrapped up in client management. I’m not even that interested in resource planning. That’s what your project manager does.

The thing that’s happened over the course of my thirty years in software development (yes, I still know how to code FORTRAN) is that every team I’ve worked on has gotten better at interpreting requirements, faster at responding to change, and wiser. We learn what works and what doesn’t work. We fail faster and smarter and move on. We communicate more effectively. We get better at picking out a successful technical path.

But what does that even look like?