Why Managers Should Not Give Their Technical Opinion

#management #technical #decision #agile
A Good Manager Should Never Voice A Technical Opinion.

Wait, what? Why exclude them if they could be useful?

Management is too often badly considered. In my opinion, it’s because we actually rarely encounter good managers. You know, useful, inclusive, psychologist, able to catalyze work, and never get in the way, you have known plenty of them right?

Being a good manager is hard.

Like being a good developer.

It takes passion, time, experience, reading, and so many other things. And by trying to chase too many rabbits, you’re taking the risk to never even catch one.

But that manager is technically very good! She/he a lot of experience!

Fading thing

In IT, 2 years is a long time. 5 years is a life time. 10 years is eternity.

So, basically, that statement will become very rapidly obsolete. And if you’re being unlucky and that manager tries staying up-to-date, then he won’t spend that time on what he should (you know: caring about human, making the company a great place to work, tackling impediments, logistics).

As said above, being a good manager takes time. Reading a book on the latest technology trend will be more time taken from reading a book on human behaviours and becoming better at handling them…

Not doing the job. Twice.

If, really, that manager is technically better than anyone in the team, well in my opinion, you then have far bigger organizational issues.

I’ll ask two questions:

  1. What the heck does she/he do in a manager’s position?

  2. Why is he/she spending time working on technical things, when her/his first work should then be to start hiring people better than her/him? Not doing so is putting the company in serious disarray.

HiPPO & the likes

If that manager spent more time reading things on human behaviours, she/he’d be aware that there’s many natural human deviances. One is that many people, especially introverts, will not dare voice their own opinion after the Highest Paid Person Opinion has been expressed. Even if the idea could have been better.

Said differently, if those managers hope their sayings are going to be judged not because of their power, but because of their technical validity, well they are wrong and working around that is difficult.

My Context

I’ve been willing to write that down for a while. It started as a guts feeling, then as time went by I think I found more arguments to articulate my thoughts. It’s still ongoing, but I felt it is now somewhat clear enough to propose it here and possibly get some feedback.

I am talking here about human managers of many teams. I mean the type of position where your role is (should be?) to provide your team members with context so that they know where the company is going (i.e. alignment!).

Even if that may apply to other areas, what I have in mind is IT. The domain I work in and hence know the best. I also have in mind a modern/Agile organization where the goal is more to make the company succeed than to respect any form of historical hierarchical establishment.

Roughly, in my mind, that kind of manager can exist for at least 20 people. Below that number is heading towards micro-management.

Wrap up

Being and staying a good one is going to take time.

That time being a finite resource, you cannot be good and up-to-date in all areas.

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