Managers: who needs them?

  • Comments posted to this topic are about the item Managers: who needs them?

  • It's BAE Systems.


  • Delete all emails? Without checking whether they contained important information or requests from clients or not?

    I do that with my transaction logs, if they fill the volume I just detach the files, delete the ldf and reattach. I guess if the transactions are that "important" someone will re-enter them again or they will find new customers or something... :w00t: 😉 </joke>

  • The sad thing is, some of these managers may have been quite competent technicians in the earlier stages of their careers, then got promoted to management, had the obligatory frontal lobotomy and became a hindrance to their subordinates.

    There is something wrong with a system which sees 'promotion' into management as the way to reward good technicians. I have resisted it throughout my career, which is why I still occupy a spot on the leaf page of the org chart, but perform a useful function for my employer and have fun while doing it.

    Thank you for your editorial, which brought a smile to the face of my husband, a cynical ex-BAE employee.

  • Yes you are right. If being given a position of management was not associated with a "pay rise" and "promotion". Then there would be less clambering and sycophancy to try and become a manager - the corollary is there would be less managers and less management layers. And then organisations would become more efficient surely?

  • I need a manager to occasionally tell me that I did a good job. More importantly, I need a manager to tell an upper manager that I did a good job.

    Other than that, I believe that managers have different skill sets than technical people. I always agreed with Steve's philosophy that IT workers and managers should be paid like baseball teams and the players should make more than the managers. Some people love to manage, and some people love tech and need a different career path for promotion.

  • I think this becomes more of a "right-sizing problem" than a "who needs them". Managers should and can be a HELP not a hindrance: mine routinely plays the role of "left tackle" to keep my way clear to get things done. That said, once you start putting layer upon layer upon layer of management and constricting the role and scope of said managers, their energy tends to turn inwards (as thermodynamics all taught us - the energy has to go SOMEWHERE, so if not out, then in...); this is where the "good thing" turns bad rather quickly.

    This is not even accounting for the fair share in EVERY role of poor performers and those just not suited for the role.

    Your lack of planning does not constitute an emergency on my part...unless you're my manager...or a director and above...or a really loud-spoken end-user..All right - what was my emergency again?

  • A general reduction of management is good to see. The traditional command and control model of management has blown itself out of all proportion.

    I agree with Patrick, from what I see many of the layers of management are self servicing to perpetuation of the model and to protect incompetence through compartmentalization.

    I predict we will see more of this now that companies with very flat management hierarchies and a greater focus on service delivery are showing long term sustained profitability and taking market share.

  • In some cases (most?) managers are very demanding of information that is time consuming to produce be it in the form of emails or spreadsheets. I have rarely met managers who are prepared to pull the information they "need" from systems (e.g. TFS) where that data resides and will be the source for most subordinates too.

    I have seen managers who are worth it. I have seen managers that kill projects through their own incompetence. Is this mix any more different from other roles? I don't know. I have no evidence but I suspect so due to my experience. The reason why so many managers are managers is because they either failed at what they go on to manage or were very good at it as well as ambitious (no bad thing in of itself). Neither is indicative of managerial abilities.


    -- Stop your grinnin' and drop your linen...they're everywhere!!!

  • I think we can all agree that many managers are a waste of space, however I think there is a tendancy to under-estimate the positive things that managers do. It is all too easy to claim that all managers do nothing or add no value to a company or organisation.

    I have had management roles in the past. It was interesting how often the most clever people who knew everything and told me they needed no manager would come to me for advice and help. The part I often played was enabling things to happen by dividing work amongst the team and deflecting unecessary work away from the team. This might not be a visable thing to everyone but I guarantee it was missed when I moved on - I can do this because I was told after leaving by the very same people who claimed not to need a manager. :hehe:

  • "Managers: who needs them?"

    I must say, I find the topic slightly provocative. I believe the generic message in the editorial can be said about almost any role people don't understand themselves. The number of times, I have experienced frontline people and managers not "understanding" the techies' need for some strange item or policy, far outweighs the number of times, I have experienced techies not understanding what (positive) difference their boss made in their lives.

    But of course, we have all (I guess) had our share of bad managers who screwed our lives up. However, I can say the same for any other role within my organization - or community for that matter!

    In my opinion, the "right-sizing" mentioned by Matt Miller is the mantra. Together with the fact that only people who add value in their job are allowed to keep it for long. Unfortunately, bad performers slip through the cracks all the time, and some actually get to live their entire lives without "justice" being served..

    So, to answer the question: "Everybody who knows what their manager do to facilitate their working life".

  • I'm at my most efficient (to the organisation) if I am working on the highest priority project to the correct requirements. That requires management.

    Trying to measure efficiency and performance is what drags everyone down.

  • An interesting article to be sure. I agree that a "right-sizing" needs to occur every once in a while. I don't view managers as being unnecessary all the time, but certainly part of the time. A good manager is very hard to find. I'm privileged to work with some good ones, but I'm sure we all have ineffective ones we have to endure.

    I absolutely love the point in the article about tons of pointless email. Email really gets in the way of getting actual work done. I believe that if you're sending an email for your own benefit and not the benefit of the recipient, you shouldn't be sending it. A lot of people don't view it this way and the abuse of email has poisoned my view of it as a whole. An actual conversation goes a long way toward getting things done without subjecting 12 people to reading the 60 pointless emails that have nothing to do with them. Just think about it - 12 people with 60 emails each is 720 emails read. At 2 minutes to read each one, that equates to an entire 24-hour day being spent reading email that should have been a 30-minute conversation between 2 people. So we have a comparison of 24 hours of email versus 1 hour of conversation. Hmmm.

    I'll say again that a good manager is hard to find. Good ones don't try to sustain the bureaucracy, replicate the bureaucracy and grow the bureaucracy. In case you haven't seen a humorous look at administratium, check out It's old, but still so very relevant.

  • I see more "Pro" than "Con" here. Most of my employers have provided substantial bonuses to management levels. One such employer forgot that IT printed the paychecks and yes, I saw several six figure bonus checks. If even a fraction of that could be pushed back into the company, the employees would be living the dream of generous (within reason of course) hardware, tool and training budgets, Holiday parties that didn't include the word "potluck", etc.

    Managers like metrics. This is the only real proof that their subordinates are actually doing anything and consequently THEY are actually doing anything. There is the problem. Encased in their office, they have no idea what's happening or who is working on what. I'm sure at some level a subordinate will still have to report to management after the downsizing but if it's at a higher level, the report would be more of a simple status update than "fill me in on what you did this week" term paper.

    BTW: Patrick Index. LOL. I should change my sig to Elton Join. Sorry. SIR Elton Join...

  • I think "Sir Elton Left Join" has a better ring to it...

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