Prominent and presidentially decorated software process guru Watts Humphrey passed away last year. Over the years, I’ve read a lot of his work and I’ve always been ambivalent towards his ideas and methods. On the one hand, I think he’s got it right when he says Peter-Drucker-derived things like:
Since managers don’t and can’t know what knowledge workers do, they can’t manage knowledge workers. Thus, knowledge workers must manage themselves.
On the other hand, I’m turned off when he starts promoting his arcane and overly-pedantic TSP–PSP methodology. To me, his heavy, right wing measurement and prescriptive planning methods are an accountant’s dream and an undue burden on left leaning software development teams. Also, in at least his final two books, he targets his expert TSP-PSP way at “executives, senior managers, coaches and team leaders” while implying that knowledge workers are “them” in the familiar, dysfunctional “us vs. them” binary mindset (that I suffer from too).
I really want to like Watts and his CMMI, TSP-PSP babies, but I just can’t – at least at the moment. How about you? It would be kool if I received a bunch of answers from a mixture of managers and “knowledge workers“. However, since this blog is read by about 10 people and I have no idea whether they’re knowledge workers or managers or if they even heard of TSP-PSP or Watts Humphrey, I most likely won’t get any.