"there's a far more insightful way to think about it. Apple had a monopoly on the graphical user interface for almost 10 years. That's a long time. And how are monopolies lost? Think about it. Some very good product people invent some very good products, and the company achieves a monopoly.
But after that, the product people aren't the ones that drive the company forward anymore. It's the marketing guys or the ones who expand the business into Latin America or whatever. Because what's the point of focusing on making the product even better when the only company you can take business from is yourself?
So a different group of people start to move up. And who usually ends up running the show? The sales guy. John Akers at IBM (IBM ) is the consummate example. Then one day, the monopoly expires for whatever reason. But by then the best product people have left, or they're no longer listened to. And so the company goes through this tumultuous time, and it either survives or it doesn't."
Great article touching on the origin of the program manager and encapsulates nicely on what I agree is wrong with the PM role, management vs leadership, that said some PM's I've come across lead and lead well. At least IMHO the future is lean or agile style, self directing groups with leaders who do. The PM role for me seems like an old school hierarchical management artifact worried about a lack of control. The development process can be and is scary, solving problems by innovation from the outside is chaos/magic. If the team can't be trusted to think about the problems and you need a role to manage/think, then you'll get an emergent division; devs who think only technically and lose sight of the core problem and management that doesn't understand what's needed to actually deliver these things and lack of judgement ability. Organisations that make money from innovation need to embrace and direct the chaos rather than seeking to manage it and 'fractal' teams are a part of that.
links for 2008-09-17 September 17, 2008