Tidbits | March 11, 2008

Want to be a better manager?

by Frank Wiles

I've been reading a great book recently titled First, Break All the Rules: What the World's Greatest Managers Do Differently. I highly recommend it for anyone who manages employees, but it makes two great points early on that are especially appropriate for technology managers:

Treat your Employees Differently

You should treat your employees differently. Each has unique strengths, weaknesses, and differ in the way they learn and you should capitalize on that, not try to homogenize everyone. Sally might be an awesome systems architect, so you don't want to weigh her down pounding out mundane features. Bob might be the fastest developer and giving him those same mundane features makes sense. Steve on the other hand might be your more efficient debugger, etc.

They learn in different ways, some by reading, others by doing, and some need a more traditional classroom environment. Sending a do-er to a lecture class is a waste of everyone's time.

Don't Let Human Resources Get in the Way of Your Hiring

I've touched on this topic before, but you can't leave the resume collection and filtering process to your HR department. Even in our more tech savvy age, I still hear horror stories from programmers how they lost out on being interviewed for a job because the HR person didn't know J2EE or J2ME were 'Java', that Ubuntu is a Linux distribution, or that having 6 years of mod_perl experience probably means they know Perl pretty well.

A great technology manager has to hire a person based on several things, one of which is experience with a particular technology or technologies. But that's only part of it. Troubleshooting skills, breadth of experience in many technologies, personality and how this new hire will fit into the overall team structure are just as important. The worst possible case is when the manager is barely or not at all involved in the hiring process.

Now there are exceptions to this. The best example is my friend Josh Stomel who runs NeoHire. Josh is one of those rare recruiters that actually understands technology and more importantly knows when he doesn't know and has a huge network of geeks like me to ask questions. You can just hand NeoHire a list of qualifications and they will bring you back a group of top notch talent.

So it is possible to have HR deeply involved in the hiring process, it just has to be the right people.

2008-03-11T01:24:03 2018-04-18T16:18:43.614795 2008 programming,Managing Programmers,business