Managing the production process has been regarded by some as being as easy to accomplish as the "herding of cats." In some respects, this statement is accurate because of the personality types and skill sets involved. It would also be incorrect.
If you were to stop reading this chapter at this point, you would assume that the web development process involves a number of very specialized skills that could be compartmentalized on an organization chart. Don't do it.
The management of a team does not follow the "Me Boss, You Worker" hierarchical model. When it comes to web development, the manager is more of a facilitator and supporter than anything else. He or she manages the resources and makes them available to everyone when needed. This includes pulling together a team with complementary skill sets. He or she also takes the time to discover the strengths and weaknesses of each member of the team, ensuring there is a proper balance between the strengths and the weaknesses.
One of the authors has been following the writings of a fellow author, Molly Holzschlag, for a number of years. In her latest New Riders book, Integrated Web Design, Building the New Breed of Designer and Developer, Molly talks about the rise of the production team and suggests that the members not be specialists. She contends they should be "integrationists," and we couldn't agree more.
The divisions of Management, Design, and Code are more arbitrary than anything else. This is because the members of the team should have broad enough skill sets that their secondary skill backs up or complements the role of other team members.
As a teacher, one of the authors is constantly reinforcing this point with his students. Inevitably, they will each find their way into his office to tell him a course "sucks." This is student code for "I don't see why I have to learn something I will never use." On this particular day, he was having this conversation with a student and decided to open the student's eyes.
"So you are working on a team and doing a lot of the design work?" the teacher asked.
"Yes," was the student's reply.
"When you discuss the project with the team, is everybody around the table, including the coders?"
"Yes, we have some great discussions."
"Then I can assume you knew what the coders were talking about, and when they asked you questions about the design, you understood the question was to help them grasp what you are trying to do?"
"So what do you do," the teacher asked, "when you aren't designing?"
"I do my own code, and when I am stuck or need advice, I go talk to one of the coders."
Game. Set. Match.