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IEEE Spectrum: Learning from Hackers

Jun 10, 2001, 19:30 (3 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Denis F. Cioffi)

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Linux, says this article, is a mindset that project managers could stand to learn from.

Most people familiar with what Eric Raymond has written about hacker culture will find this old territory.

"Traditionally, a project manager is the person who makes sure that all budgets, deadlines, and schedules are met. There are any number of tools they may use to get the job done--work breakdowns, network diagrams, scheduling charts, and so on. I would argue, though, that being skilled at using such tools is less important than having a good outlook--one that encourages cooperation, yet gives each worker the opportunity to be creative.

Many project managers, though, fail to heed employees' concerns, skills, and aspirations. Indeed, the New Hacker's Dictionary defines management as follows: "Corporate power elites distinguished primarily by their distance from actual productive work and their chronic failure to manage (see also suit)."

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