Thursday, September 29, 2005

Management on Autopilot

My latest complaint is about my management. On my current team we have both a product manager and a development manager. Both roles are filled with people I would consider inadequate to the tasks they should be performing. This problem is made worse by the fact that the product manager is actually managing the products of three teams while the development manager is managing two teams. This leads to a lot of conflicting meetings and a general sense that both managers are missing in action quite often. My product manager hasn't made it to a daily meeting in months and my development manager missed the morning meeting the day before our code complete day.

As you can imagine, this leads to a situation where developers are often guessing at requirements (the responsibility of the product manager) and spending too much time coordinating dependencies and clamoring for the necessary resources (the responsibility of the development manager). Of course, the metrics used to determine how things are progressing are very centered on how the developers are doing (rather than the management). Sure, the management may be "blamed" for poor team performance on some level, but ultimately the developer's ass is the one on the line.

In recent weeks (on my team at least) this has lead to a noticeable drop in quality with an increase in effort. Any situation that causes longer working hours with a final product that you can't even be proud of has a tendency to sabotage morale. To me, the solution is fairly straightforward. Hire additional management for the additional teams / responsibility and revise the metrics. Hold management more accountable for their team's failure to deliver. And don't let them just roll the shit downhill onto the developer.

I'm doing my job, I just wish other people would too.


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