Just wax and shave your balls with vaseline, guys, it only takes a little bit of time each day.
Lucas Meadows stashed this in Confacimus
This a great HN comment on one of the problems inherent in so-called "agile" development: the fact that the process itself puts the interests of the project manager at odds with that of the engineers. The manager wants visibility into the project (though he himself has been above the codemonkey pay grade for years and may not even understand the underlying technology), but the engineer just wants to get shit done.
So a compromise is made in which the engineer has to do busywork every day that in no way helps him do his job, and the manager, in return, gets information about the project spoon fed to him so that he does not have to read commit messages or use the product (which he's far too busy and important for). This allows the manager to minimize the amount of his own time that is wasted in making sure that the engineer stays "on task."
"Just keep the spreadsheet up-to-date, guys, it only takes a little bit of time each day."
I'm certainly not a fan of overhead on this stuff, but it is super short-sighted to think that not keeping folks updated on changes in project duration doesn't help the engineer; knowing about slips as early as possible makes it that much easier to compensate in planning and avoid a death march. I ask my engineers to revise their estimates at either the start or the end of each day for this purpose. Often this is a NOP because we can track spent time via a commit message.
My favorite walkabout question, "What are you doing *right now*?" Having engineers give estimates assumes they are working on the right things with the right priorities in the first place.
Add "an intuitive sense of knowing how long things take given the perfectly matched team for the task and able to adjust it accordingly" to my list of required skills for a software manager.
Reading code and checkin logs, staying up to date on technology, and being the keeper of the knowledge and design are all pre-reqs for being a software manager.
Agile is just a tool and, yes, there are many people who don't understand when it's appropriate and how to practice it correctly. Picking and mapping backlogs to tasks to make meaningful progress is still very much an art.