On Managing IT Professionals

Bucky Schwarz, TACFUG Member, CFinNC Conference planner, Model-Glue contributor, posted a link on twitter today called The Unspoken Truth To Managing Geeks. I read this with my morning coffee and felt compelled to share it with the rest of you, since the article was so well done and happened to hit many fastening devices on their apexes. (Bonus points if you can translate that sentence).

Go read the article for yourself, I'm not going to delve into any insightful commentary, heck, it is 8:00 in the morning! I will, however, share two of the passages that prompted me to put this post in tubes for you all to enjoy.

...IT pros are sensitive to logic -- that's what you pay them for. When things don't add up, they are prone to express their opinions on the matter, and the level of response will be proportional to the absurdity of the event. The more things that occur that make no sense, the more cynical IT pros will become. Standard organizational politics often run afoul of this, so IT pros can come to be seen as whiny or as having a victim mentality. Presuming this is a trait that must be disciplined out of them is a huge management mistake. IT pros complain primarily about logic, and primarily to people they respect. If you are dismissive of complaints, fail to recognize an illogical event or behave in deceptive ways, IT pros will likely stop complaining to you. You might mistake this as a behavioral improvement, when it's actually a show of disrespect. It means you are no longer worth talking to, which leads to insubordination.

...later on in the article...

Most IT pros support an organization that is not involved with IT. The primary task of any IT group is to teach people how to work. That's may sound authoritarian, but it's not. IT's job at the most fundamental level is to build, maintain and improve frameworks within which to accomplish tasks. You may not view a Web server as a framework to accomplish tasks, but it does automate the processes of advertising, sales, informing and entertaining, all of which would otherwise be done in other ways. IT groups literally teach and reteach the world how to work. That's the job.

So if you haven't yet read the article, The Unspoken Truth To Managing Geeks yet, go for it. It is illuminating and will help us all to be personally productive as well as more useful to those we impact and manage.

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9/11/09 7:57 AM # Posted By Matt Darby

Dan you are correct this is a great article as I read it I felt like someone was stepping on my toes a little bit. For me it was little reminder of some things I take for granted for both my roles as a developer an a IT manager.

And I am not going to touch your metaphor up there, I will suffice for the day without the bonus points. :)


9/11/09 8:56 AM # Posted By Matt Williams

fastening devices = nail(s)
apexes = head(s)
hit many nails on their heads


9/11/09 3:24 PM # Posted By Qasim Rasheed

Definitely a great article. Being a developer as well as manager, several things resonated with me. However I am not totally convinced on the notion that IT pros only relies on logic. Management is sometimes not logical and probably a boring and repetitive activity. Human Psychology plays a major role in good management and since each individual is different, we cannot apply a simple programming logic to human behaviour.


3/12/10 3:52 AM # Posted By mediafire downloads

Good read. For me it was little reminder of some things I take for granted for both my roles as a developer an a IT manager.


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