abangratz - blag

Stuff that matters - at least for me.

Management Myths Debunked by Johanna Rothman

Just wow. This morning’s lecture, brought to yours truly by Johanna Rothman was a joy to read. Starting at an article brought to my phone via Google+ I could not stop reading the referenced article.

And then I dove into the whole series dubbed “Johanna’s Management Myths”, namely:

  • The Myth of 100% Utilization
  • Only the ‘Expert’ Can Perform This Work
  • We Must Treat Everyone the Same Way
  • I Don’t Need One-on-ones
  • We Must Have an Objective Ranking System
  • I Can Save Everyone
  • I Am Too Valuable to Take a Vacation
  • I Can Still Do Significant Technical Work
  • We Have No Time for Training
  • I Can Measure the Work by the Time People Spend at Work

What impressed me most is the things those articles have in common. First, they are easily understandable by anyone who does or did any kind of management work. Then, they are to the point. And you do have the feeling that each and every article has not been brewed up by a person sitting in an ivory tower, but by someone who did live through all the things herself. Add to that a real talent for writing and explaining things, and you know why I liked it.

Also, I can relate to those things. 100% Utilization? Measure Work by Time at Work? I was working for a certain person, a former two-man show turning company with all the obvious growing pains. The “big boss” managed to bully almost all employees into working more than the regular 38.5 hours (Austrian employment laws rock). Additionally, if someone was having a chat with someone else but the boss, he basically went from Jekyll to Hide in less than a New York second.

The only thing that he created was a working environment where most of the people left after a few months. And he was constantly complaining that he couldn’t keep people. They were all out after his money and would never put in enough effort etc pp.

Some other traps like not planning enough time for training, being too valuable for vacation, trying to ‘save’ everyone where traps I also fell into myself. Others, like not having time for One-on-ones I have to admit I am guilty right now. I am going to change that beginning today, though.

Having been working in agile environments, helping to create them (also currently) at least relieves me from treating everyone the same way, or having “experts” on the team - or if it happens, we’re removing those impediments fast.

While in former employment situations, having a boss that micro-managed by doing programming stuff without having the understanding anymore was a problem, this has never been true for my current employer. Everyone is trusted to do her/his best and mistakes are learning opportunities. I myself am still a programmer and servant leader, so me doing programming is the norm, and well supported by the team, so personally I just do what I am supposed to.

I just wish I would have reacted like the manager in this situation. I really should have. But I can try to avoid a situation like that myself if I would ever be in this position.

Well, that sums it up: Easy to read and understand, real great work. Thank you, Johanna Rothman, for that valuable insight on those complex topics!