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Episode 310: Conscious Software Development (Free)

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This episode is sponsored by The PM PrepCast for The PMP® Exam:
The PM PrepCast for the PMP Exam

Michael Smith

In November of 2014 I was one of 21 speakers for the Conscious Software Development Telesummit (conscioussoftwaredevelopment.com). My topic was "Project Management will Make Me a Better Developer... Right?".

Now you might think that conscious software development is not for you, because you don’t really know what it means, it sounds a bit "new age" and it’s not about project management! And frankly, that’s how I felt at first as well. But then I saw that nearly half of the presenters of the telesummit had been previous guests here on the project management podcast. They were all presenting their unique view of how project management and software development can work together.

And so when Michael Smith (www.linkedin.com/in/abundantmichael) -- the organizer of the event -- asked to be a guest here for you I immediately said yes. And it turned into a great and valuable conversation for you.

We’ll begin by defining what conscious software development is, how it relates to project management as well as current world shifts, and we close with tips for how you can foster consciousness in both yourself (as a project manager) and also in your teams that very likely include software developers.

Episode Transcript

Below are the first few pages of the transcript. The complete transcript is available to Premium subscribers only.

Podcast Introduction

Cornelius Fichtner: Hello and welcome to Episode #310. This is the Project Management Podcast™ at www.pm-podcast.com and I'm Cornelius Fichtner.

In November of 2014, I was one of 21 speakers for the Conscious Software Development TeleSummit. My topic was "Project Management will make me a better developer, right?" Now, you might think that conscious software development is not for you because you don’t really know what it means, it sounds a bit new age and it's not about project management. And frankly, that's how I felt first as well.

But then I saw that nearly half of the presenters of the telesummit had been previous guests here on The Project Management Podcast™. They were all presenting their unique view of how project management and software development can and have to work together.

And so when Michael Smith, the organizer of the telesummit asked to be a guest here for you, I immediately said 'yes' and it turned into a great and valuable conversation for you.

We'll begin by defining what conscious software development is, how it relates to project management, as well as current world shifts and we close with tips for how you can foster consciousness in both yourself as a project manager and also in your teams that very likely include software developers.

And now, sit back, relax, breathe in, breathe out, and consciously enjoy the interview.

Podcast Interview

Female voice: The Project Management Podcast’s feature Interview: Today with Michael Smith, CEO of TeraTech, a ColdFusion custom software development company.

Cornelius Fichtner:Hello, Michael and welcome to the program!

Michael Smith: Well, hello, Cornelius! Good to be here with you.

Cornelius Fichtner: Absolutely! So this is the second time that you and I talked. The first time, it was you interviewing me for the Conscious Software Development TeleSummit and today, you are joining us from Thailand and we hope that the connection here on Skype holds up. We want to talk about conscious software development. So tell me, why conscious software development? Why CSD?

Michael Smith: Well, I think there are a lot of problems in software projects. When you look at how many projects really succeed, whether they delivered on time, in budget, did they even use software? Are the stakeholders happy? Was it deployed in a seamless way? Not so many projects satisfy being successful in all those dimensions. So I think we have an issue here and part of an issue is that when we're working on projects, we're not fully conscious of all the different options we have and we just do it the same old way.

What I call zombie programming or zombie project management where we are not really awake to what different things we could do. So for me, it's important that we become more conscious of what the issues are and also of what different possibilities are so we can make a choice in the future to do something different. Because there's nothing worse than banging your head against a brick wall and then continuing to bang your head against it because you haven't become aware that the wall is there and it's painful.

Cornelius Fichtner: So what is conscious software development?

Michael Smith: So I see it as two things. One is bringing more consciousness to each of the steps and the process of software development. That may start with who you hire for your team and being conscious about the hiring process. It might be consciousness about the requirements process or even deciding do you want to green light the project in the first place? It seems that some projects never should have been approved to start with because they are just not adding to the value of the organization when they are delivered, which may be at a higher level than a project management job role but that's something that can cause screw up in a project if it's not really appropriate or it's someone's pet project that would have been better not to have been born to start with. So there are many different facets to being conscious in the projects.

And then the other facet to conscious software development is using parts of the brain that we don’t traditionally associate with software development. So traditionally software, it's a left brain logical activity and in reality in my experience for doing this for 30 years, there's a lot of right brain intuitive, artistic thought that comes in to projects particularly when dealing with the politics and the people management. It's not so much logical. It's more following your gut and experience as project manager. That will help avoid getting in to trouble.

So that is what conscious software development is, those two things of being conscious and also being aware of different ways of thinking and applying that to projects. Just getting in contact with our intuition could be something. If you left it dormant for years, it can be a little challenging to do that. So that's what I see conscious software development has.

Cornelius Fichtner: Most of our listeners here are project managers and you've already nicely brought up project management angle into this. Generally speaking, we're talking about conscious software development. How can we relate this to our listeners, to the project manager out there who is listening to this? How do they use consciousness in their day-to-day jobs?

Above are the first few pages of the transcript. The complete PDF transcript is available to Premium subscribers only.

 

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