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More Tales of Terrible IT Managers - page 2

Management Meltdown

  • January 25, 2011
  • By Carla Schroder
Another reader writes:

I do believe that over the last ten years things have got a lot worse for the "worker bees".

One: Management thinking designed around not having any Management skills within IT. Managers that can hardly send an email is a common example that I have personally seen many many times.

Two: the unrealistic expectations that can be placed on one a department or even individual, i.e create XYZ in one man week when in reality it should take one man month/year. Once someone tries to complete such task all failures are then placed on them no matter how much they highlight the possibilities or difficulties. No responsibilities go up the ladder, and no or few rewards travel back down.

Three: Missing information or lack of business decision(s) can create untenable situations.

Four: gold diggers. There has been decades of people/companies/academia/governments thinking/advertising that IT/Computing is the best or only solution to unemployment, when in reality its totally the reverse. Hardware/Software improves, meaning fewer staff are needed. It was seen as easy money.

Adult Daycare

I've worked for myself, and I've worked for big companies. When I ran my own businesses my business model was simple: keep the customers happy, or I won't have any customers. Do the work or it won't get done. No work, no eat. If I am inefficient and sloppy, it costs me money. Treat everyone well, be honest and fair, or bad things happen.

The bigger the company the more shielded any individual is from the consequences of their actions. Some companies that I worked for were first-rate, such as Nike and Tektronix. Most were unpleasant experiences, where it seemed that being productive and actually doing business were not the purpose. More like adult daycare, a place where unproductive unfocused people could muddle through their days, stay off the streets, and miraculously get paid for it. Such companies are hell for anyone with a work ethic, and who wants to be productive and creative.

In part 3 we'll talk about what good management looks like. Because there is such a thing, and what a difference it makes.

Carla Schroder is the author of the Linux Cookbook and the Linux Networking Cookbook (O'Reilly Media), the upcoming "Book of Audacity" (NoStarch Press), a lifelong book lover, and the managing editor of Linux Planet and Linux Today. .

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