Creating Silos Helps Managers Avoid Seeing the Data

In Sunday’s Boston Globe View from the Cube column, Lisa Liberty Becker claims “Telling the truth can be hazardous to your job”. She goes on to talk about her husband, a performance test engineer, whose manager buried his reports, because “they [the reports] reflect poorly on the job he’s done.” The result? Bad product performance, so of course the performance engineer was laid off.

I don’t understand why this organization chose to separate the developers from the testers, or didn’t use the same defect tracking system, or why they wrote reports (maybe to see trends). Maybe there just wasn’t enough room in the article to explain fully.

But what stood out for me was this:
The managers are deliberately preventing themselves from seeing data that would help them make better decisions.

  • If the developers and testers were part of the same team, they would be talking among themselves and the managers couldn’t ignore the data.
  • If the developers and testers used the same defect tracking system, it would be close to impossible for the developers and testers to avoid the data. They would bring it to their managers’ attention, and then maybe the
  • If this company used a cross-functional team to evaluate problems during the release, the other people would also see the data, and not allow the managers to avoid the data.

This is a clear case of management incompetence resulting in laying off the competent people, such as the performance engineer.

Data for managers is like code for developers; every piece of data requires multiple eyes, see More Eyes Are Better Than Two. Otherwise you may not realize what you’re seeing. And if you can’t see the data, you can’t choose which actions to take.

Leave a Reply