Management

  • Andy Warren

    SSC Guru

    Points: 119694

    Comments posted to this topic are about the item Management

  • real_cals

    SSC Enthusiast

    Points: 161

    Good article Andy; thanks.

    I second the 'focus on your job' points - I managed a small team last year and made the mistake of trying to do my DBA / developer job as well. Result: both jobs done poorly and high stress!

    Definately a job that has it's own skillset, responsibilites and rewards.

  • TimothyAWiseman

    SSCrazy Eights

    Points: 8819

    Awesome article, and one I concur with wholeheartedly, but there is one thing I would like to add. I have worked for a large number of managers and have led small to mid sized teams several times, and I can say with great confidence that it is rarely a good idea to micromanage in the long term. There are times when someone is first joining a project that they may need close supervision, but if you find you are micromanaging after that then the question is, do they truly need it?

    If they do not truly need it in order to get the work done.then micromanaging is wasting your time and probably preventing them from being as innovative as they can be. If they do truly need it, then they may need to be reevaluated. It may be time to provide them additional training to help them learn to work on their own, or to replace them.

    ---
    Timothy A Wiseman
    SQL Blog: http://timothyawiseman.wordpress.com/

  • dataman

    Old Hand

    Points: 305

    Very timely post for me. I've been in management for over 10 years, but my desire to get back to the raw data level and code has increased each year. I'm at the point of shifting career directions from general IT management to a more focused database development role. I WANT to specialize and become subject matter expert, and Andy's right -- you begin to lose that ability and technical focus once you get into management. I think the tipping point for me is the politics and the feeling of being too replaceable. I long for the days that I don't have to deal with petty people issues and can develop/manage database systems better than anyone at whatever company I'm with.

    Anyone else want to share their transition from management back to a focused DBA role?

  • Timothy-313907

    Ten Centuries

    Points: 1226

    Thanks for the article. Confirmed my desire to remain a career craftsman/coder. My boss was a technical person who moved into management and pretty much everything you mentioned happened with him. He's lost his technical edge, though he's still very good, and he had a problem with delegation in the beginning and tried to do coding tasks himself. He would work late most days but over time I guess it got tiring and he started delegating more. Managing is way too political for me, don't desire it one bit.

  • ram-445116

    SSC Journeyman

    Points: 79

    Its a Good one, I liked it, i am a .Its quite interesting.

    Sreekanth S

    Senior Software Engineer

    Infovision

  • Loner

    SSC-Insane

    Points: 21279

    A lot of senior developers move to management, it seems it is a good career move just liked you said in the article. However not everyone is manager material, people have to realize their skill. If you are not a manager material, eventually the people under those managers is going to seek another job, it only hurts the company.

    A manager is someone between the upper management and the developers under them. It is a sandwich layer. They have to due with company politics and tons of paper works, at the same time they have to help their people. If anything happens to a project, the upper management will blame the managers.

    Some managers have technical background, they keep interfere their developers to do their job. They make the developers using their way to do things, it just tells me they could not let go. Some managers were on the management side, they just pushed their developers to do what the management said. If the management set up an unrealistic deadline for a project, instead of talking to the management, some managers just pushed the people to work enormous overtime to complete the project in time. This is their way to please the management to climb the corporate ladder.

    In my old company, two managers eventually stepped down to become a developer. They were managers for over 10 years. One told me he did not made a whole of more money than the senior developers but the stress was 10 times more.

    Over the years, I had worked for many managers. There were only a couple that I would consider they were good.

    Many years ago I tried to go to management and I quickly learned that I was not a management material. I was not good at playing company politics and I set up a very high standard for the developers working for me. I may be able to keep going as a manager but I decided to remain as technical.

    One thing - there are more developer positions than manager positions !!!!!!!

  • Jeff Moden

    SSC Guru

    Points: 997112

    What an awesome article... I've seen quite a few on the same topic, but this one "nutshells" the whole 9 yards very nicely. It's definitely a keeper.

    Thanks for taking the time to write it, Andy.

    --Jeff Moden


    RBAR is pronounced "ree-bar" and is a "Modenism" for Row-By-Agonizing-Row.
    First step towards the paradigm shift of writing Set Based code:
    ________Stop thinking about what you want to do to a ROW... think, instead, of what you want to do to a COLUMN.
    "Change is inevitable... change for the better is not".
    "Dear Lord... I'm a DBA so please give me patience because, if you give me strength, I'm going to need bail money too!"

    Helpful Links:
    How to post code problems
    How to Post Performance Problems
    Create a Tally Function (fnTally)

  • cmille19

    SSCertifiable

    Points: 5950

    As someone who made the leap from DBA to manager I can relate and agree with the advice given. I would add a few more points:

    Enroll in an MBA or Master's program. The Master's degree in MIS degree and many MBA programs were specifically created out of the need to turn engineers into managers. Personally my interest in management didn't peak until after having gone back to college for master's degree in Business Administration. I then started to see management as a separate discipline which requires the same dedication and focus as I had previously put into technical skills. Even if you can't go back college I would encourage you to read management books or join a club such as Toastmasters which builds communication and leadership skills. Nearly everyone has baccalaureate degrees and its becoming more common to for managers to have MBAs; this will set you apart from your peers.

    Every manager has a responsibility to have a succession plan and managers will generally have some idea of who would be a good candidate for a management role on their team (if anyone). Although it goes without saying, tell your manager you are interested in management. Chances are you may not have been given consideration until you expressed a desire.

    Management is harder than being an individual contributor. You may look at your manager’s work and think how much easier his job is (the stereotypical pointy haired boss). It’s not. I’m probably going to get flamed for this statement, but as someone who has done both roles my experience has been that it was much easier being a DBA than a manager and unless you’ve done both a management role and an individual contributor role, you have no idea. Dealing with people and politics is more difficult than for example tuning a query. If one of your reasons for pursuing management is the mistaken belief that you’ll have an easier and higher paying job – you won’t. The job is harder and the pay of your top technical people is not far from a first-level manager.

    You can’t be friends with your subordinates. You are in a position of authority and everyone has a natural tendency to resent authority i.e. “working for the man”. You can still be friendly and go team lunches, but make no mistake as a manager at some point you’ll need to discipline someone or give out a less than stellar raise. These are responsibilities of a manager. There is also the need to avoid the appearance of preferential treatment stemming from socializing with some members of your team and not others i.e. playing golf with Bob on the weekends. I often think of management like being parent. I know some people will cringe at the analogy, but the same concepts apply i.e. be a parent first over being a friend and do not spend all your time with one child.

    So why did I become I manager? Although I’m painting a pretty bleak picture, there are many good things to being in management including: no one call responsibilities ; mentoring people and seeing them grow in their career; setting standards ; setting the technical vision. But most importantly you get to accomplish more as a manager than you could ever accomplish as a DBA. I find being a manager personally more rewarding and I feel a greater sense of accomplishment.

    In one of my graduate classes in management we learned that 20-30% of engineers who became a manager return to the engineer role within five years. If you make the leap from technical to manager and decide to go back to technical keep this in mind and do not view the experience as a failure, value the experience as Andy points out it makes you a better employee. Also know that the pull of going back to technical is a common issue many technical managers struggle with.

  • Steve Jones - SSC Editor

    SSC Guru

    Points: 720887

    Having gone back and forth from Technical worker to Manager and back again a few times, I think I can do either job, but they're very different.

    Andy did an excellent job of summarizing what you'll face, and if you've never managed and want to, read this a few times. Ask your manager now about it, and learn. We don't train managers well and many of them just sink or swim, which isn't a great way to run a business.

    Management takes work and Andy and I have talked about this a lot over the years both as technical people and managers. Just like IT, you have to keep working on your skills if you want to grow into this profession.

  • jminette

    Ten Centuries

    Points: 1322

    This was a great article and reminded me of many of the reasons I moved back to a DBA role.

    I was in management for three years and overall it was a positive experience. I came into the role with high hopes but I found out it was much more difficult then I expected. I made some fundamental errors which hurt my performance and, more importantly, my employee's performance. Some of the points made by Andy really hit home and I'd like to just reinforce their importance.

    For a technical manager it is so important to remember that you are a manager first. I truly enjoy coding and designing and that got in the way of my job as a manager. At the time, I thought I was doing the right thing by doing much of the coding and design. I thought my employees would learn by example and start taking on more responsibility. I forgot that my job was to manage people first. My selfish drive to solve problems myself cheated my employees out of the opportunity to learn to solve their own problems. Andy's point about being a manager from 8 to 5 can't be emphasized enough for those of us who really enjoy technical problem solving that moving to (or already in) management.

    I took a few months off after resigning from my manager position to decide what I really wanted to do. I realized that I'm just a little too selfish right now to be a good manager. I'm back in a DBA/Developer role and my stress levels are much lower and I enjoy going in to work again. Maybe one day I'll go back into management but for now, I'm happy where I am.

  • jcrawf02

    SSC-Insane

    Points: 24198

    Andy, have to concur with the group. Great article! I moved from a supervisory position into a reporting role using SQL, due to a new dept forming. Although I didn't have any real SQL background, I applied for the manager position, knowing that my willingness to learn SQL in addition to my proven people skills (at one point I managed twice the company standard amt of employees) would work to my advantage, and I knew a lack of knowledge existed in the other team members, and I would likely still be with them/ahead of them and able to train them up.

    I didn't get the job, having been promised a 'SQL mentor', which was ok with me too, since I really wanted to learn the skillset anyway. Recently though, I've been griping about the new guy they hired, since he doesn't know SQL as well as I do now, and I've become the resident questions guy for my teammates. Although I'd like someone to develop my skills also, your article made me realize that I can't expect my manager to be all things to all people, and it's more important for him to steer our fledgling dept in the right direction so we can accomplish goals as a team rather than develop me, selfish as I am. If I have to become the resident trainer (sad though that is) then so be it, and I will be all the better off for it.

    Thank you for re-focusing me and for stating it so succinctly.

    Jon

    ---------------------------------------------------------
    How best to post your question[/url]
    How to post performance problems[/url]
    Tally Table:What it is and how it replaces a loop[/url]

    "stewsterl 80804 (10/16/2009)I guess when you stop and try to understand the solution provided you not only learn, but save yourself some headaches when you need to make any slight changes."

  • rhat

    SSC Enthusiast

    Points: 145

    a.) Those that can, PLAY. Those that can't, coach.

    b.) Those that can, DO. Those that can't, teach.

    c.) Those that can....DO. Those that can't. Manage.

    Yes, it's that simple. Pointy Haired Bosses are all around and aBound in the software world.

    One of these days, the ones that really "do" in the software world are going to get recognized for that regardless of what anyone, articles, books, magazines, or executives say, want, or even think.

    The doers, creators, and the real problem solvers will eventually get what they deserve and so will the PHB's. Maybe not now, or even in my lifetime, but one day.

    It happens in the music industry, the film industry, and any industry the requires some amount of creativity to survive.

  • Andy Warren

    SSC Guru

    Points: 119694

    Jon, Im glad it helped you see the situation differently - thats a good start! Good time now to strengthen both the SQL skills and your vision of what kind of manager you want to be.

    Rhat - nothing about being a manager lessens the value of what the developers, DBA's, and other geeks bring to the business. Managers aren't a necessary evil, they are necessary - so that those with those special skills can apply with them without the distractions of scheduling vacations, hiring new people, conducting reviews, etc, etc.

    Don't think we need managers? Let me give you an example. Say you've decided to have a brand new house built, your dream home, and you want to do it the "right" way and let all those skills craftmen from the various trades do their thing minus the pointy haired boss. How happy will they be when the drywall guys show up but can't work because the electrical guys aren't done? Or when the landscape guys do the work before the pool is installed, causing most of it to be ripped back out at your cost? The general contractor - a manager - is the one that makes the schedule magic happen. Not only will you not be happy without someone in that role, the craftsmen won't be happy either!

  • Loner

    SSC-Insane

    Points: 21279

    Enroll in an MBA or Master's program. The Master's degree in MIS degree and many MBA programs were specifically created out of the need to turn engineers into managers. Personally my interest in management didn't peak until after having gone back to college for master's degree in Business Administration. I then started to see management as a separate discipline which requires the same dedication and focus as I had previously put into technical skills. Even if you can't go back college I would encourage you to read management books or join a club such as Toastmasters which builds communication and leadership skills. Nearly everyone has baccalaureate degrees and its becoming more common to for managers to have MBAs; this will set you apart from your peers.

    I don' think a MBA degree or reading some management books will lead a technical person to a successful manager. I had read many management book, the more I read, the more it is clear to me I am not a manager material. I know people want to climb the corporate ladder but sometimes you have to ask yourself if you are a manager materials. A MBA degree is not as popular as before, most big companies found out the people have MBA degree has a lot of theory but little realistic ideas.

    If you want to become a manager, you have to ask if you have good people skills, able to manage people and listen to lots of complaints from the managements.

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