Management Myth About Managers and Technical Work

My most recent management myth is up on Techwell, Management Myth #8: I Can Still Do Significant Technical Work. I see managers catch themselves in this one all the time. Maybe you do too. Maybe you disagree with me. Comment over there, please.

BTW, This article is a partial attempt to answer the question, “How technical should a manager be?”

3 thoughts on “Management Myth About Managers and Technical Work”

  1. The hard part is the transition: What to do when your programming team slowly grows, so you feel the pain and need a manager.
    Sure, there might be some dev who could do the managing job, but there is so much dev work that he can’t be spared.
    And of course, as always, there is not enough money to bring on additional manpower.

    1. You bite the bullet and bring on a manager. If you ignore the management work, you don’t create an environment in which people can do great work. You overwork a developer who should be doing development work. If a developer tries to do both, he/she will fail, and will do the work he/she *wants* to do. Or, you manage the project portfolio, so you don’t do as much project work. That also works. You have options. But you can’t ignore the problem and hope it goes away. That doesn’t work. — Johanna

  2. In general, I like managers who does not afraid from technical tasks.

    I can agree that the priority for the manager must be management, because there is no somebody else, who’s responsibility it is. If he fails in management, whole team suffers from this. Also, if manager does technical tasks, he must be very careful regarding to motivation of other team members, because others may feel themselves undervaluated.

    From other side, it is great, if manager shares the difficulties with other team members; e.g., participating in technical tasks is very important to strenghten solidarity and team spirit. For example, developers often have to work overtime because of tight schedule. It is not honest, if manager goes home because “there are just technical jobs, nothing to do for him”. Especially, if he has agreed on this schedule with customer.

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