Linus Torvalds on Managing Software Projects

CIO.com has an interview with Linus Torvalds that I’d just had to share…very interesting commentary from Linus on managing software projects.

In the article, Linus provides five ‘tips’ for managing projects…they are:

  • Find people you can trust.
  • Be trustworthy yourself.
  • Be honest—sometimes painfully honest.
  • You also have to let the others get their say in.
  • A combination of bluntness and honesty leads to the best code ending up in Linux.

Interesting thoughts…what I found refreshing is that Linus never talks about ‘process’…he talks about getting results…something I believe a great deal in myself.

If you click over and read the interview, you’ll see Linus talking about being painfully honest…even to the point of calling people ‘incompetent idiots’.  I’m not a fan of this approach…you can be honest and still be civil.  I expect that one reason Linus is able to get away with calling people incompetent idiots is because of his fame in the Linux world…but I’d suggest that his approach would fall under the ‘asshole boss’ syndrome

That being said, I’d like to create my own ‘tips’ for managing software projects that are closely aligned with Linus’.  They are:

  • Hire the right people. Look for people that are trustworthy, knowledgeable and driven.
  • Create an environment of trust
  • Value open, honest two-way communication
  • Be willing to admit when wrong
  • Deliver Results

Focus on the above five things with your team (whether its a project team or not) and you’ll find yourself closer to success.

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