Tania Katan, Brand Evangelist, and John Haley, Developer at Axosoft, were recent guests on the TechnologyAdvice Expert Interview Series to share their insights on project management. This series, which is hosted by TechnologyAdvice’s Clark Buckner, explores a variety of business and technology landscapes through conversations with industry leaders.
Tania and John joined Buckner to discuss the different terms and aspects of agile project management software at Axosoft.
Here are a few of the highlights from our conversation:
TechnologyAdvice: Axosoft is a custom project management solution that can be easily integrated into a company’s workflow. You mentioned both your music and art backgrounds, and that the work you do is your art. Why do you look at your work in the tech industry as art?
John: Take computer science – the field is relatively new. It started around the late 1800’s but didn’t really take off until the 50’s or 60’s. So there’s so much out there to explore and learn. And although we call it computer science, it’s very much still an art.
We have these methodologies, and procedures, and terms we know and talk about, but one of the main reasons that we want to be agile is because of all the unknowns. It’s not really a science, we’re still figuring out what’s happening.
So we have to be agile because if we say we actually know how to make a product on budget and on time and we know how exactly everything is working in the system, then someone else will come out and say, “That’s not the case,” and now we have to re-adjust. This means it’s critical to be able to think on your feet. You have to be able to think creatively about all these different problems you have, day in and day out. That’s very important and that’s what it means to be agile.
When I look for new candidates and new hires, especially coming out of college, I’m looking for someone who doesn’t just repeat an algorithm to me, but someone I can sit down with and we can solve something that ideally neither one of us has seen before. That’s super important in computer science.
Tania: When I think about a creative practice (whether you’re making art, writing a play, making music), a lot of times, artists or creatives are thinking about solutions to problems.
And some of those problems can be social, some of them can be science-based, and they all can affect world change.
So this process of being agile and working within this project management software is about creating solutions for whatever it is that you’re developing. And that, to me, is completely parallel to the creative process.
TA: I love both of those examples. This is something I haven’t heard on this series: to look at project management through the lens of creativity and art. Though it might seem small, it’s taking on really big issues. And no matter how big the issue is, art, at some point, has gone up against that issue.
What other creative trends are you seeing in how work gets done?
John: Remote work is definitely a big thing, but it’s still in its infancy.
One of the challenges I’ve been trying to bring to light is, when you work in close proximity like we do at Axosoft, there tends to be a lot of tribal knowledge and this tribal knowledge materializes in face-to-face conversations with people. And you’ll start to build up this knowledge between a couple different people. And then, when you want to trickle that knowledge out, you’re playing a game of telephone using various systems.
So say you have a meeting, and in this meeting you come to a decision with three people or a small group of people. And now you’re trying to communicate that decision out to the rest of the company.
When you do that, you’re distilling that decision and you’re distilling it more and more by word of mouth communication. Now in addition to that, you also lose the “why” and “how” you came to this decision. The “why” could be just as important as the decision itself.
Listen to the entire show above in order to hear our full conversation, or download the show to listen later.
You can subscribe to the TA Expert Interview Series via Soundcloud, in order to get alerts about new episodes. You can also subscribe to just the Project Management category.
Stay on the cutting edge of software development by getting innovative tips, trends and stories delivered to your inbox every month!