Remember, you never get what you expect; you only get what you inspect. From the outset, progress and issues should be reviewed at the end of each day. If, for any reason, you miss the end-of-day check, take a good look at what's been achieved first thing the following morning. Never miss two days in a row.
Programmers will be more frank with you if they find you supportive. While they may not always be able to please you, they always want to. So always approach them in a relaxed manner. If you know they are working on something complex, agree on a convenient time to meet; otherwise, just pull up a chair for your daily chat. You want to discover three things:
♦ Is there anything that you can help them with?
♦ Have they got any concerns?
♦ Have they completed today's task?
If anyone's working from home, call them up and have the conversation, get them to e-mail you any changes that need checking, or remote connect to their PC to see what they've been working on. Wherever your employees are working, don't just talk. Look at the code and ask to see how it's behaving. Offer comments. When deserved, give praise. Before you say goodbye, run through the tasks for tomorrow.
Doing daily updates means your programmers never have to confess they are a month behind schedule. The longest you can be informed about is a single day.
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