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mxCoder, 2006-03-31 12:42:20

…I would suggest looking for engineers with management training….

I’ve always thought that management skill is a little like art skill …. you got it, or you don’t. There are certainly engineers that will never be managers, and managers that should never try to manage engineers.

If you can get a great engineer, with strong management skills — you’re going places!

Actually – I don’t know that I was ever a great manager. I did well in two areas: I was a solid engineer and the teams couldn’t bull me about what could, or couldn’t be done, and often, I could immediately have a better sense of when the code would be complete than the programmer who was writing it. I was also a good leader. I was aggressive, competitive, and not standing still for anything. I’d rather be wrong than slow in acting. People followed me because they knew I was often right, and never boring.

As to being a good manager: Overall, I’d give myself a C or D. I was slow firing sluggish or incompetent people. I never discovered how to motivate people who didn’t want to be motivated. But, what I did do well was to empower people to succeed or fail. I was highly intolerant of excuses. There were people who never seemed to get things done, but who were expert at having good excuses. I was very good at waving goodbye to these people. I was also intolerant of people who tried to hide behind paperwork. When I asked how a project was going, and someone said ‘let me ask’ or ‘let me check my notes’, I sought someone else who was on top of their project. Generally, I divided the world into people who were there to win, and those who were there for the paycheck. I suppose an A-List manager could manage the C players successfully. That wasn’t me. I did my best to ship those people off to other companies with better managers.

-Ken W