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  • Writer's pictureDaiany Palacios

The project manager’s got some unix skills

There is this “innovation day” every friday at work where everyone has the chance to try out some new ideas, technologies, tools, etc.

Every friday morning there is an open “catch up” meeting where people tell shortly the status of what they’re working on, new ideas can be pitched and new groups can be built. There are free drinks, so I usually attend even if I am not working on anything, or even planning to.

A couple of fridays ago while I was drinking my free lemonade there, this project manager announces he has an idea to pitch. He went on, armed with the usual power point presentation with lots of text in the slides and a bunch of bullet points. He wanted to try out the so-called “Cloud IDEs” (e.g. Eclipse CHE and Gitpod) and see if they could really be an option for us development departments in the company.

I had heard a bit about that idea before, and I found it very interesting. So when he was done with his presentation I quickly discovered my hand up in the air. I definitely wanted to give it a try.

Since (surprisingly enough) no other developer volunteered, it would have to be just me and him. I thought: “well, let’s see what I can do”. Because in my mind, the project manager would practically just sit there and watch. Make a roadmap, write down goals and prepare a presentation.

I was wrong.

The project manager’s got some unix skills!

I had met the guy before, we worked together in a project early this year that was drastically stopped. He was the lead manager. The one talking to upper management and giving status reports in Board meetings.

Having known him only in this role before, I have to admit that I was victim of a cliché or stereotype in my head of him being “not technical enough” to try out stuff by himself on this Cloud-IDEs mission we were embarking on. Shame on me!

He was really enthusiastic about the topic. Moreover, he was the one who managed to get Eclipse CHE locally up and running on a minishift cluster, in an Oracle virtual box, on his windows laptop. And I dare to call myself a developer and I didn’t get it running on my fancy mac book pro. Shame on me again!

I was fascinated by the passion he put to the topic. He did it all by himself (the installation/setup), he understood about stuff I wasn’t expecting him to understand much about: maven, docker, spring boot, shell scripts. I found it really cool. I had to ask him about his background (yes, so curious I was!) And he told me he had developed during his time at university, but never profesionally. He just liked project management more. He codes now and then privately as a hobby but that’s it. He was actually the one who said: “I am just a project manager who’s got some unix skills”.

This story reminded me of 3 important things:

  1. Not to judge people based on stereotypes. I wouldn’t like to be judged like that, so I should stop doing that to others. It’s common sense.

  2. It’s possible to be good at anything we put enough effort into.

  3. Amazing things can be achieved with the right amount of motivation and passion.

Btw, if you made it this far and are curious about the results of our evaluation of Cloud IDEs, stay tuned because I will writing my impressions about that on another post soon.

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