Manager vs. programmer – My Story

(do not forget to read my other stories at digg)

I am working with R&D team, exploring new things, doing programming, optimizing codes, handling servers but on the other hand I have 5 to 6 teams which summate to 40 people. Handling people is art so is programming, each module demands time so does each member. The problem was not work, I can work both as a manager and a programmer but it was the thinking, a manager’s mind and a programmer’s mind. Do managers work? Do programmers like documentation? I spent almost a month with my boss which helped me improve as a manager cum programmer, in tech terms a Techno-Manager.

Techno part
A technical guy tries to solve problems and is concerned more with a module or in bigger view with a product. He wants to make it the best and so he works. He trusts no one but his mind while programming. He studies more to acquire knowledge. He feels bad if he doesn’t know the answer. He wants to be the best. He thinks he can handle things on his own. Appreciating others work is a little difficult as he knows he could have produced better. He feels meetings, discussions, documentations are not that useful. He alone can give it a fight and make things happen. He creates slow but long lasting impressions.

Manager part
A manager identifies the problem and tries to find the root to eliminate such chances for future; he documents it and involves people to find the best solution. He fixes it or asks a team to fix it forever with a complete documentation. He wants the things to be the best so he trains and hires best people as he know his own work will never make the project succeed. He trusts people and pushes more responsibility down the line that he can take more. He keeps his mind free and uses others knowledge to make things work. He knows someone in his team will know it better and feels proud to promote him while answering it. He wants to have the best team and he is not better than his team. He is there to co-ordinate and is incomplete without his team. He appreciates every work as he knows it will produce better work. He knows meeting will transfer knowledge, discussion will help him understand the team’s problem and documentation will help his team operate without his time. He feels helpless without a team. He strikes hard with quick but short impressions.

I wish I could write more things on both part but as we say neither I am an ideal communist nor a complete congressman. We have both the qualities but changing our thinking process is very important.

I believe a programmer in himself is more efficient than a manager but a manger is more effective that a programmer. I prefer to be more effective rather efficient.

10 golden rules:

  1. Start developing people.
  2. Push the responsibilities (just not work) down, you will see people performing much above your expectation. Believe in people.
  3. Improve culture, document things. Do not teach one but teach the one who is with you now and one who will join you after a year. This can happen only with documentation.
  4. Hire best people (the most imp thing for sure), fire bad ones. Do not waste time on inefficient people. This will help you and the person too.
  5. Appreciate people and a 24 carrot manager can create many good programmers.
  6. Do not teach them how to do, tell them what to do.
  7. Only words will not motivate people in long term but yeah for short team do speak out motivational words. Share the dream, just sharing work can give you a worker but sharing vision will gain you a missionary if not visionary.
  8. Never under-estimate yourself, people are not great because they are born like that but they are great because they are molded like that. (I am not starting the debate again, “Are leaders born or developed�?, I know I debated hours on it).
  9. Share your problems with others.
  10. Paper and Pen will work better than a 1GB laptop to solve complexities.

10 Replies to “Manager vs. programmer – My Story”

  1. Again a great post but i’m confused with the second point,
    coz i recently faced problem by believing one person and pushing responsibiliteis….
    but i must say this is the best post….
    I’ve learned many things….. and will learn contonuosly….

  2. if we do not push responsibilities down we won’t go out for fishing the way your boss go. You can relax if you know there is someone who is working harder when you are not there.Develop people, motivate them and make a atomsphere where you can enjoy the work. Smart workers are more effective than hard and effiecient workers.

    With fishing I remember a famous quote,

    “Give a man a fish and he’ll eat for a day. Teach a man how to fish and he’ll eat for a lifetime.” Training others is good for you, good for the person who gets it and for the company an overall gain.

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