Sunday, December 13, 2009

Technology Management Ain't Easy

I've been reading/re-reading my DeMarco/Lister books recently (Peopleware, Why does software cost so much). It's amazing how timeless they are. I'm always struck by their simple but profound insight: "The major problems of our work are not so much technological as sociological in nature."

When I read DeMarco/Lister my mind always turns to the definition of management/leadership. A great quote that has stuck with me for many years is
"You don't manage people, you manage things. You lead people."

All of my managers have been developers that were promoted because they were good at developing. But do good development skills translate into good management skills? I don't think so! Do developers turned managers get management training? I don't think so!

Managers like to focus on technology and getting things done because that is, after all, what they have been doing successfully as developers. Managers should be focused instead on leading and helping their subordinates get things done. But those are much harder and aren't techy at all.

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