You Schmooze, You Win

I spent a good deal of time on a large software project for an unspecified government organization. The top dog on this project was John Hopper. John was a very personable fellow. He had a lot of technical experience. However on this project he concentrated only on project management.

John delegated all technical decisions to another leader. He actually delegated most of the project management details to another company working on the project. This did not mean that John was not doing a good job. On the contrary, John did a lot for the project. He would keep the customer happy. You cannot put a price on that skill.

Years later after John had moved on, I learned just how important John was. Under new management the customer had grown unhappy. It is bad enough when there are many software problems that you need to fix fast. But it is double trouble when you need to continue to meet with the customer to explain why everything is screwed up. Under John Hopper's leadership, I almost did not know who the customer was because the project was being managed so well.