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Posted Wednesday, May 7, 2014 8:16 PM
Ten Centuries

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Steve Jones is generally speaking on track with what he said. Having spent 15 years in management roles and 35 years in technical roles I can say I have seen both sides of the issue. That being said, the editorial yesterday relative to career vs. vocation makes all the difference in the world. When I was young and relatively stupid in the ways of the corporate world, I thought moving into management was the best thing for my career. I did well in some environments and poorly in others but it was always career focused. During that 15 years I was miserable as a person.

Nineteen years ago I changed hats and went back to technical work, my vocation. I have never regretted it.

Managers receive better compensation than their technical people for the simple reason they are accountable to senior management to meet the goals and objectives of the business organization. Technical people are the tools/resources they use to achieve that. Our work is not in a sports arena but rather an manufacturing organization. Yes, we are the talent but our talent does not bring in revenue for most companies; normally we reduce costs; sports team talent brings in the bucks. There is a reason sales people get paid so much; they bring in the revenue.

We as technical talent can steer the manager in the right direction through constant feedback in a one-on-one meeting. By this I do not mean being obsequious but rather providing sufficient information to help the manager succeed. Managers hate surprises; we can keep them informed and prevent issues by providing feedback.

I was on a project where a deadline was set by upper management but the UI designers took three months longer to get the design to us than planned. Senior management was never told of this delay until it was used as a reason for not delivering on time. Team leadership never told the development management team of the delay and as a result everyone had egg on their face.




Great post eric.notheisen this is dead on. Companies promote there Tech Superstars because there is no where else they can go for salary increase. This can be good/bad depending on the person. Some people are managers others are not or do not want to be.

Managers need to be informed of everything going with the projects. Personally for me, I do not want to manage because of the responsibility involved in managing a person or many people. Being a Manager is hard work.
Post #1568745
Posted Thursday, May 8, 2014 6:30 AM
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Pay should be based on value. A good manager brings some value to the team, but if they're bringing a lot more than the technical people, the technical people aren't very good (or junior) in which case the manager may be doing some teaching/mentoring from a technical sense, or helping them grow.

I think it should be an exception, or maybe 50/50 where a manager makes more than valuable technical staff. The idea they manage people and that equates to more value is a holdover from non-thought work.



Yes, pay should be based on value, especially value to the COMPANY. Many times staffs complaining about their bosses' decision only because they don't understand that the higher the position, the more an employee is expected to become an entrepreneur, which means they don't (and should not) think like technicians.

And there is one basics that has not yet mentioned here. It's the simple law of SUPPLY AND DEMAND. No matter how good a technician is, it is often very easy to replace with new (often cheap) ones. And even if the new technician is not as good, the COMPANY will often not suffer. So that's the real "value" of a technician.

Managers are OTOH more critical to the business, and good managers are rare, so they create demand, higher salary rate.

But decisions nowadays are made based on standard and procedure, which is designed to suit most situations. One solution is to understand that technology and management/leadership require different skill set. It is e.g. done in Agile-Scrum methodology where a scrum manager can be paid less, doesn't have to be technical and doesn't have the authority like traditional project managers.

But of course, in a minority of situation, a staff who is good in technical and leadership can exist. And he/she should have higher value because he will know more how to deliver for the benefit of the COMPANY. But it is rare, and one issue with promoting a good technician to a manager is that the company will lost a good technician.

Yes, Human Resource Department can sometimes very lousy, so the solution is again the Supply and Demand law: "There is one common and sure way to improve your salary: move to another company with higher salary rate."
Post #1568854
Posted Thursday, May 8, 2014 6:31 AM
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Good one!

I like this one too:

http://brucefwebster.com/2008/04/11/the-wetware-crisis-the-dead-sea-effect/
Post #1568855
Posted Thursday, May 8, 2014 7:28 AM


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patrickmcginnis59 10839 (5/8/2014)


Good one!

I like this one too:

http://brucefwebster.com/2008/04/11/the-wetware-crisis-the-dead-sea-effect/


I shan't be sharing these because, although they are good reads, I would make myself very unpopular at a lot of places. Am I shirking? Maybe. Personnel is not something I have to deal with but people are :-S


Gaz

-- Stop your grinnin' and drop your linen...they're everywhere!!!
Post #1568881
Posted Thursday, May 8, 2014 8:36 AM
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Gary Varga (5/8/2014)
patrickmcginnis59 10839 (5/8/2014)


Good one!

I like this one too:

http://brucefwebster.com/2008/04/11/the-wetware-crisis-the-dead-sea-effect/


I shan't be sharing these because, although they are good reads, I would make myself very unpopular at a lot of places. Am I shirking? Maybe. Personnel is not something I have to deal with but people are :-S


LOL

Hey, I'm sharing the second link despite tending to stay at the same job for longer than seems typical for today's IT.
Post #1568927
Posted Thursday, May 8, 2014 8:50 AM
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Steph Locke (5/7/2014)I personally wouldn't want to be a manager but I really value good managers for being able to handle all the politics, team interactions, meetings, project prioritisations and all the other stuff that is needed.

I agree with this 100%.

Right now I have a manager I really respect, and I feel pathetically grateful for that because it's far too rare. He has a solid technical background and really knows his stuff, but he doesn't touch the work himself; that's what we (his team) are for. Instead he focuses on getting the best out of us for the company, which involves far more political wrangling than I'd have the patience for. I believe he earns good money for this and he should, it's a real skill.
Post #1568944
Posted Thursday, May 8, 2014 8:50 AM
Mr or Mrs. 500

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[sorry for the duplicates; I really do only click once]
Post #1568945
Posted Thursday, May 8, 2014 6:37 PM


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I think the big issue seems to be that a lot of companies see the only progression (at least if you want your pay to increase by more than a cost of living increase) to be: Grunt worker -> Knowledge worker -> Team supervisor -> Manager -> Cxx...

The problem, as others have pointed out, is that not every techie type person is suitable to be a manager (ME!) and not every manager is suitable to manage techies. My last job, shortly before I left at a review, I was told that the next pay level was a "manager" rate. I *once* was made a supervisor and neither liked the job, nor do I feel I did well at it (although some of that may have also been a lack of direction from my manager and a lack of "what can I or can't I do")

I got bumped back (thankfully there was no difference in pay, so no worries about pay being cut) to being a techie.

As for managers being paid less than the techies, I would think that if an employer actually treated the techie side and manager side as two completely different career tracks, it wouldn't matter. They would pay the manager what they feel they're worth, and the techies what they feel they're worth. If a techie feels they want to move to the manager side of the fence, then the employer should provide a path for that to happen. Make them a "team lead" sort of position, where they're still in the techie side some, but spend more time providing direction to the other techies. Sort of a "go-between" between the manager and the techies. If things work well and the techie/manager wants to keep moving towards manager, let them...
Post #1569119
Posted Friday, May 9, 2014 2:48 PM
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That's actually an excellent point. You get promoted to a role where they are unsure as to what they want you to do, aren't clear what your objectives are or what the boundaries of your responsibilities are and then wait until the annual review to tell you that you haven't met their expectations.

Hooray for rudderless leadership. Thank God it will never catch on!



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