Twelve Tips for Managing Geeks: Page 2

Posted February 8, 2007
By

Rob England


(Page 2 of 3)

5) People
Known to geeks as “wetware,” people are perceived as a major impediment to their effective functioning, second only to security. Buffer end users from geeks with a Service Desk. Invite them to meetings when you have to. Don’t expect them to wear silly hats or go rafting or other “team” activities. And don’t let them near… 6) Management
Geeks make bad people managers. Do not allow them to ascend by sheer force of seniority into management or even team-leading roles. Even worse, do not commit the cardinal sin of pushing them into management roles they do not want (usually through lack of other career paths). Sometimes geeks experience a ‘road to Damascus’ revelation and suddenly begin to understand the other half. Most don’t.

7) Project Management
Geeks make bad project managers. Recall they are thing- not action-oriented. They do what they must to get it done. The actual doing is an ordeal to be endured and minimized. Only the essentials matter, but the technical essentials must be done right: they can’t be rushed. Coordinating other people, ensuring all the bases are covered and everything fits together, driving for deadlines, coping with adversity, expedient adjustment, keeping records, reporting and analyzing – these are not geek skills. PMs are a specialized group of unique people: hire them.

8) Politics
There are those who make things happen, those who watch things happen, and those who say “what happened?” Do not expect geeks to be attuned to corporate politics, or even to know what is going on in the business at large. Make sure their manager is filtering their communications and proposals. A geek will demand a new SAN just as the business reports earnings 50% below estimates, or complain that the team is under-utilized and not appreciated just as layoffs are being planned, or tell the new CIO who moved across from Finance that the users are idiots and never know what they want anyway.


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