Everyone knows what it’s like when you take a five-year-old for a journey in the car.
After about five minutes of the drive, they will quietly ask, “Are we there yet?”. At this point, you’re fresh and your patience is intact and, in a rational manner, you will be delighted to calmly explain to your little darling that there is still a long way to go.
After an hour, and the same question being repeated about a hundred or so times more, your sanity will be stretched to breaking point and it will be all you can do to stop yourself slamming on the anchors, getting out and running to the hills screaming.
Projects can get you like that too.
Particularly when things are going wrong, for example when the test environment is down, the demo won’t work or the deadline is looming.
This is the point when, as a manager, you need to resist the urge to ask, “Is it fixed yet?” every five minutes. Think of the five-year-old in the previous example, compare yourself to that, and remind yourself that asking your techie that question will absolutely not make it work any quicker. In fact it’s likely to slow the proceedings down.
So, if you don’t have anything to contribute to the proceedings, get yourself out the way. Even if it means you are relegated to tea-boy/girl or pizza delivery-boy, it’s a thousand times better than annoying them and perhaps delaying the solution.
Your time would be better spent keeping everyone else away from your techie too. So do that instead. Other people asking your techie when it will be ready will be significantly worse impact than you placating them, and acting as conduit to the upper echelons of management.
Before you get to the point of leaving your techie alone, make sure they know to let you know as soon as you can help, or they solve the problem.