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Do Non-Technical Managers Add Value? 249

Posted by timothy
from the which-outhouse-is-uphill dept.
New submitter Kimomaru writes "Ars Technica asks, 'How does a non-technical manager add value to a team of self-motivated software developers?' IT Managers have come some way in the past decade (for some). Often derided as being, at best, unnecessary and, at worst, a complete waste of budgetary resources, managers in technology today can add significant value by shielding developers and systems engineers from political nonsense and red tape. From the article: 'Don't underestimate the amount of interaction your manager does with other departments. They handle budgets, training plans, HR paperwork. They protect the developers from getting sucked into meetings with other departments and provide a unified front for your group.'" Has that been your experience?
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Do Non-Technical Managers Add Value?

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  • No (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 02, 2014 @05:26PM (#45850197)

    Just ... no.

    Best article I've seen on managing techies is here,, but it takes another techie to recognize it.

  • Re:No (Score:5, Informative)

    by mooingyak (720677) on Thursday January 02, 2014 @06:00PM (#45850575)

    Depends on the manager. I had one recently (re-org. He's still around but I don't report to him anymore) who was excellent at exactly what the summary stated: shielding us from red tape and political BS. He was mildly technical - he could code if he had to, but it wasn't his strength, and (this is probably what made him good) *he knew it*. He would do requirements gathering, secure resources when necessary, and stay out of the way on technical stuff. He'd also take my estimates and grossly inflate them, which generally made them more accurate. Good managers exist, but it's an odd niche sometimes. If we swapped jobs, we'd probably both be much worse at it.

It's later than you think, the joint Russian-American space mission has already begun.