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From “One of the Pack” to “Top Dog” Expand / Collapse
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Posted Wednesday, July 14, 2010 10:10 PM
Grasshopper

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Comments posted to this topic are about the item From “One of the Pack” to “Top Dog”

Justin Hostettler-Davies
www.databaseexpertise.com
Post #952837
Posted Thursday, July 15, 2010 2:02 AM
Old Hand

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I'm in almost the same kind of position, but with more complications.

Until 2 weeks ago, i was an external consultant, moving across to the client employ discretely so as not to advertise that the consulting company was letting this happen.
A few people in the team here know what's happened, but there are few who don't. The new position puts me as a team leader, not a developer, so i've also been promoted from grunt to boss.

The coincidence is that at around the same time, more work came in that required me to take a step back and manage it as a whole, and use my knowledge and expertise to take a supervisor role in projects i wouldnt normally have had anything to do with.

While i can get away with not seeming like the boss until i get permanant (not consultant) bodies in the team who will know what's going on, i will be keeping my eyes on how you deal with your transition and hopefully learn a few tips that will help me in the time to come.

Best of luck!
Post #952912
Posted Thursday, July 15, 2010 3:12 AM
Ten Centuries

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This is a brilliant subject for a series of articles. Good luck with the transition.

I'm a techy, but was recently given the opportunity to attend a 2-day course about project management. It was a real eye-opener and has altered my perceptions about managers and the work they do. It also helped me with my own day-to-day work. Anyway, the point being, that too often techy people think they are the only ones that know anything. And, clearly, that's as far from the truth as the oft-repeated mantra that all managers are bad.
Post #952934
Posted Thursday, July 15, 2010 3:22 AM


Ten Centuries

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Another "Good luck" from me. I'll be following the series with interest.

Semper in excretia, sumus solum profundum variat
Post #952936
Posted Thursday, July 15, 2010 3:29 AM
Grasshopper

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You'll always be 'one of the boys' to us.

Looking forward to future editorials.

Moe
Post #952939
Posted Thursday, July 15, 2010 4:09 AM


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I've always found that the main issue of IT Departments (whatever sphere you work in) is that techy/geeky guys like to be just that. They're happy to be at the "coal face" day-after-day coding/maintaining/administering, utilizing tools at their disposal whilst learning new ones. For some it is our raison d'etre - it's why some of us spent all those years at Uni/College/training courses.

Then you get non-techy people who usually (although not all cases) become the Project Managers/Tech Sales/IT Directors. And of course they work "above us". In many cases they don't have a definitive grasp of IT issues. Some know nothing, some understand a lot, some understand a little (these are the dangerous ones IMO) Some like to say "yes" all the time to clients without consulting the techy guys if a request can be accomplished. Some just don't understand "all that technological clap trap" and have no desire to understand which is where problems can occur.

Of course you rarely get techie people moving up the corporate ladder as (like the editorial touched on) your not one of the boys any more, you spend more time in meetings and less time at the coal face and learning new technologies. You drift away from what you started out doing. Some might like this and some might not.

Being a SQL DBA contractor for over eight years I've seen this is many places, although not all and that's the better places where I've worked is where it takes some "give and take" - an appreciation on both sides of what each techy/developer & manager/PM does each day and how they should work together to get things accomplished. I have actually worked in places where a manager of a development team would never talk to his team face to face and rarely sent emails to them. He felt intimidated by them, but they lacked any team cohesion and direction. Needless to say project deliverables and accomplishments were rarely achieved.


Great editorial.

qh


SQL 2K acts like a spoilt child - you need to coax it round with lollipops.
Post #952958
Posted Thursday, July 15, 2010 5:55 AM


Old Hand

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The most important thing about becoming a manager, is to remember that companies are not kingdoms. You do not "rule" people - if you're good, you inspire, motivate and shepard them.

Although I have a Bachelor and Masters degrees, my greatest "training" for management came from my years of playing semi-pro ice hockey. There you learn that although you may have some great skills - lets say shooting the puck - someone else has to make the great play to pass you the puck to shoot. And someone else had to make the great defensive play to turn the puck over to your team.

Business is something like that. If you try to "rule" like you are the only player on the ice, good luck. You will be very ineffective in a short matter of time. On the other hand, if you learn that the members of your team will do great things, merely part of the greater whole, you will come to realize that you, and your team are a unit, and no one of you (you included) is any better than anyone else. Its the complimentary skills on your team that make the team, and the members great.

Look at any team sport you like - and look at any hero - he or she is only as good as those around them. David Becham could not score a goal without teammates to pass him the ball. Kobe Bryant does not play on the court alone - he needs teammates to feed him the ball.

Never let your head fall into the "kingdom" concept of management, because that simply becomes a "dictatorship" in a short time and we all know what generally happens to dictatorships.


There's no such thing as dumb questions, only poorly thought-out answers...
Post #953036
Posted Thursday, July 15, 2010 6:01 AM
Grasshopper

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A relevant topic for any career progression!

Before my move to IT I had progressed from Saturday Boy through to Dept Manager at a retail outlet.

I found that the further up the management structure I moved the less 'truthful' communication you seemed to have with your co-workers. People say what they think you want to hear rather than the truth, leaving you to tease the real information out. You also have to act as a filter, shielding the team & higher management alike by passing information up or down, weeding out unhelpful comments, filtering the meaning of frustrated/angry comments into something you can pass on and letting the buck stop with you as the team leader.

However the most difficult thing I found was disciplining (in any form) members of your team that once worked alongside or even above me. People sometimes feel that you don’t hold the authority or expect favours/special treatment that you can't give because you now have to look at the whole picture, and all the knock on effects.

People skills replaced knowledge at the top of the skill set, yet that knowledge is still a massive part of the job as the respect given to you by your staff revolves around both abilities.

In short it was a constant balancing act and a steep learning curve, the success of which only being measured in productivity; the happier people are the better they work.
Post #953042
Posted Thursday, July 15, 2010 6:06 AM
Grasshopper

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The last poster noted that the job was to inspire and shepherd. The challenge in taking on these roles is figuring out the right way to motivate.

As a contractor, I have a very easy motivation - getting paid. But I also approach it with a "I don't want to be draining this company's funds" mindset (even when working for the government). But FT employees may not share that approach.

For the other poster, coming in as a contractor and then moving into a leadership role, what a great opportunity to really be able to see if you are getting bang for your buck. Be prepared to step on some toes, though.

As an employee, what is their motivation? Especially with those who have been working for so long, they don't WANT to learn more.

Post #953049
Posted Thursday, July 15, 2010 6:37 AM
SSCrazy

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I have taken management positions but never over a group that I had belonged too. I think that's a disaster in the making. If you're too intimate (in a workplace sense, of course ) with those you're managing, you'll have trouble dealing with the others' expectations. Some will view you as a jerk where they once viewed you as a friend. Others will expect favors from you because they have viewed you as a friend. Friends take care of friends, and, now that you're in a position to play favorites, you'll have that to deal with.

It's much easier to talk charge of a group where you don't know the players very well.

I don't envy your task ahead. Best of luck.
Post #953073
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