of advice that Scott Adams, the inventor, or the author, or the creator, of Dilbert actually put into place. And Mauricio commented that his favorite line of strips was the project management group. What, in particular, do you think is wrong with project management today? In the way that software is developed?
Mauricio: Well, Carol, the main thing about project management is to have management. The problem is most of the time, we don't have management. There are many managers who are just like Dilbert's characters. I mean, people who just do communication, which is part of management, but not all of it. Doing communication is… You know the type. That's the kind of guy who manages using his telephone and asking people, "Is that ready?" or "How long? How long is it going to take? No, tell me. What's the status of this?" So they ask questions all the time. They get information, but you get this feeling that they are not going to do anything with that information they get. They're just doing… going through the motions, actually. And that's not management at all. But you'll find it many, many times, and not only in the Dilbert strip.
Carol: Right. One of my favorite strips, that I use, actually, in a number of classes I teach, has the pointy-haired boss saying, "I need to come up with a project estimate. How long will it take you to do things?" And he says, "Anything that I don't understand, and I don't comprehend, I'm going to give it only a couple of minutes. And anything that I understand, I'll be able to allocate." So he says, "I want to design a client server network for our worldwide operations. Time, five minutes." And I think that really stretches the point of project management, that a lot of people don't even realize what it takes to develop software. And the software developers a lot of times are managed by people who may not have a development background, or who may not understand the users, who are being told that they need to increase the shareholder value, the stock prices, return a better bottom line. And they're managing technical people. I'd like to just ask you, do you think that managing technical people is different from managing, say, retail staff or other people just in our society?
Mauricio: Yeah, there is a difference, which is that technical people, actually they produce the results in their own minds. It's not like building something that you can see and measure. Most of what happens, of what is accomplished in technology, happens before any results are actually seen. And that's something… You are dealing with people's minds there. You don't get the actual results for quite awhile. You get only representations. Like if somebody makes a drawing, what is he doing? He's communicating what he's thinking of. He's communicating what his view of the solution is, but until you have code, you have nothing. And that's why some managers make the opposite mistake. They want code as soon as possible, perhaps in five minutes, as you said. And that's impossible, because people have to think first. And that's the main difference between, like, construction work and software building. You don't build concrete things in software. People have to think, and you build soft representations, maybe.
Carol: And it's frustrating. I know, having been a software developer, and having a background of being a user first, I think sometimes what happens is we have, almost what I keep waiting for in Dilbert, which is a base level