There are many efficient engineers working in software companies and the commonplace utterances like ‘coding error’, ‘build not functioning’, ‘new feature is not getting integrated’ , etc. are often heard in their workplaces. Soon after, one might witness meetings after meetings followed by night stay to fix the errors on a stringent deadline. All this is due to lack of people skills. People skills are the most valuable nowadays because large complex projects demand highly efficient people skills to assist in bringing an integrated final product.
Bill Gates of Microsoft acknowledges the value of people skills, “Communications skills and the ability to work well with different types of people are very important. ” he said, “Software innovation, like almost every other kind of innovation, requires the ability to collaborate and share ideas with other tasks, and to sit down and talk with customers and get their feedback and understand their needs. Interpersonal skills are more important in the workplace than IT skills. ” In a way projects are technical, but complexity arises as a result of cross-cultural variables, virtual teams, and the necessity to achieve more in less time.
To resolve issues and gather technical skills in the competitive world, people skills are crucial. People skills can be defined, practiced, improved continually, and best learnt experientially (Flannes, 2006). A professional can be hired to assist with technical details but a manager with people skills are difficult to get. One of the quick turnaround time project experience shared by Charlie Poole (2001) on the website proves that people skills are more important to a team manager in a software development project.
He was focused on rolling out a workable project structure with a set of stories as part of one integration cycle. For this he selected four programming core practices like continuous integration, small releases, onsite customer, and planning game. He did it successfully. When the project was kept in front of him, he had a few thoughts (all of which can be co-related to the seven important skills shown in bracket) about the project that had to move forward in just over three week’s time. He decided: I won’t waste time – (Responsibility) I’ll have to quickly turn tasks over to other people – (Communication Subtleties)
I’m forced to recognize what parts of the project have most value – (Ability to Assess) I’ll do the simplest thing that works – (Innovative and Caring) People may be more willing to try out a new approach – (Individuals are not Fixed Objects). An effective team structuring, clarifying requirements before entering into real working scenario, effective planning are some good plans that helped him accomplish the desired results. Besides, Charlie had the ability to manage conflict and agreement in the first place to undertake a project and bring results in three weeks.
Earlier, Charlie had the experience of being a team member himself and had grown as a lead and then as manager which gave a certain advantage in bringing the project to closure. By sharing his feelings on the web, Charlie aptly follows “Writing about thought and feeling in a journal,” which is considered to be one of the seven skills required for a manager. The rate of success in achieving people skills rely on how perfect one has been nurtured with the following seven important skills: 1) The ability to employ four interpersonal communication techniques.
2) The ability to conceptualize and apply four distinct leadership roles. 3) The ability to access individual differences. 4) The ability to motivate individual stakeholders and teams. 5) The ability to manage conflict and agreement. 6) The ability to mediate and manage professional and personal distress. 7) Writing about thoughts and feelings in a journal and competency in six active management skills. Acquiring these skills does not happen overnight. People who have been experiencing in the same domain performing at various levels will have the advantage of handling any crisis situation like Charlie as in the example above.
Technical skills are typically easy to observe, quantify and measure. They’re also easy to train, because most of the time the skill sets are brand new to the learner and no unlearning is involved. The case with People skills is different. Another expertise, Russ Finney (Finny, White Paper) advises that having someone on the team who is familiar with the specialized knowledge surrounding selected technical environment provides confidence. Technical skills too have great values in assisting others, making suggestions, developing standards, and finally leading to leadership qualities.
This implies that technical skills and people skills are not something far apart. A good technically skilled person has the chances of becoming a capable manager with people skills. If one wants to advance, he or she should never neglect People Skills Training. If you are like most IT professionals, pressed for time, overwhelmed by pending deadlines and working with limited budget dollars your training efforts should focus exclusively on acquiring new technical skills along with your people skills. References Finney, R. Winning Project Teams.
Information technology management, White paper. Retrieved April, 18, 2009, http://www. itmweb. com/essay003. htm Flannes, S (2006). Effective people skills for the project manager: a requirement for project success and career advancement. Planning, Development and Support 131-29, 19. Poole, C (2001). Three week project turnaround. Retrieved April, 18, 2009, http://c2. com/cgi/wiki? ThreeWeekProjectTurnaround Retrieved April, 18, 2009, http://www. zdnet. com. au/insight/business/soa/Tech-skills-not-as-valued-as-people-skills-/0,139023749,339284581,00. htm