Interview Process

It’s strange – every manager has a good idea on how to weed out bad programmers during the interview process, but how do we weed out bad managers?

During an interview process I might ask a self professed OOD expert about an abstract class, virtual members and stuff like that, if the prospect does not know what I am talking about then the remainder of the interview is usually just idle chat. But what about the managerial positions? I usually ask if people know the books “Mythical Man Month” and “Peopleware” since I consider these books as important to a software manager as C# is to a windows developer – Can you call yourself an “expert manager” if you don’t know these books?

There are plenty of average coders who never wrote template classes, or spewed out regex to parse some weird format, but you really cannot be considered more than a mediocre manager if you are not familiar with the two books. You don’t have to agree with the books (not recommended), but ignorance!!?!

The Peter Principle causes clueless people to raise to the top. How many Peter type managers take credit for the success of a company, when the success was attained in spite of their performance? I imagine quite a lot of managers fancy themselves responsible for successes, after all

Success has many fathers, while failure is an orphan
Just take a look at LinkedIn, no-one there is the father of some derailed product, and managers (especially managers!) always have some “proven track record”.

A bad manager can poison a functioning team in a couple of months, but when the team falls apart it is usually too late to correct the problem, causing irreversible damage to the company.

A broken department can come in many guises, but the first sign that things are headed for the crapper is low morale in the team. As the manager prevents the members from entering the flow, enforce ideas that are meaningless (at least to the team), or simply treats the team as if they were retarded children, members will start to leave. But a lot don’t, so obviously, the members that leave are just “divas that could not take the tough love”. No, the reality is that a lot of people are “clockwatchers”, they go to work, get their paycheck and do just enough to avoid getting fired. They will stay behind, because they really, really don’t give a rats ass about anything – including the product.

Don’t get me wrong – they enjoy when the product is successful, but if it’s not, if it “just gets by”, keeps the company afloat and keeps the paychecks rolling, then that is enough for them.

Once this purging process begins, it will soon spread, and in the end the only way to cash in is to get a venture capitalist on board, and spend money on marketing campaigns, external “genius coders that will save the day” and other misdirected ideas. Sometimes that works out for the owners, but in the long run?

Take a look at Apple, when the bean-counters took over they damn near killed the company.  Just something to consider.


Author: prescienta

Prescientas ruler

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