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Oct. 21st, 2007

I found this article about a lack of good developers at Microsoft via Hiring Technical People. Apparently, after a while, most want to become dev leads, managers, or VPs. The article's kind of cute, recalling the lyrics of Tears for Fears' Everybody Wants to Rule the World. In my experience, money isn't the only reason people want to move into some kind of management role. In some cases, it's to get some control over their projects; to be the person who gets to do the design work or shape the project in some way. In other cases, it's to avoid getting stuck with the grunge work.

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( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
gconnor
Oct. 22nd, 2007 07:28 am (UTC)
In related news, someone who used to work at MS told me that they don't really have "working managers" and don't really believe in them. The MS management culture seems to pressure everyone to identify as an individual contributor or a manager, not a mix. It's a policy that comes from the top. I think it's a mistake, because in my experience, working managers do two things "full-time managers" can't... First, they act as a built-in buffer, when there is too much work, they can roll up their sleeves and help, and when there is less work, they can spend more time on leadership and planning for the future. Second, they can quickly and easily understand highly technical matters and communicate them to other managers in a way that's meaningful for them, making them better at communicating what's going on to execs and internal customers, as well as being able to quickly make promises for their team, without having to check back with the technical folks all the time.

That's not to say that MS managers aren't technical, but it does seem like there's an artificial divide which might contribute to "brain drain" when someone gets promoted. Plus, there's a real misconception in a lot of places that "leadership" is an activity only done by "managers" -- when in reality leadership and management are fundamentally different activities and some of the best leaders aren't managers at all.
cellio
Oct. 23rd, 2007 02:56 am (UTC)
I'm currently a development manager (three people, so that's not full-time) and a tech lead (five other core team members, another 6-12 part-timers depending on how you count). In both cases, I want it primarily for the control, for the bigger vote to "do it right" than I'd get as an individual contributor.

I'm going to write more about this in my own journal, but maybe not tonight.
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