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how to get respect from tech oriented employee

Hi all,

My background is Industrial Engineering. Due to reorg I've been assigned to head a "Business Solutions" team, which consists of business analyst and developers. Previously the developers are grouped into the "Development" team. And know I sense that sometimes they are sometimes underestimated me, because I don't have development background. What should I do to earn their respect?

Sunday, August 4, 2002

Always be honest and open to their suggestions.

I had a manager once that was not technical, he always asked me to explain in simple terms what I thought was the best approach to a solution. He then played devils advocate and it went rather well. He never tried to "pretend" to know all the technical details. His trust and open-ness to learn and admit that he didnt know earnt my trust. In return I often tried harder to explain things and schedule them better.


James Ladd
Sunday, August 4, 2002

Read "Peopleware"

Monday, August 5, 2002

Don't call them techies or make assumptions about their domain.

Don't expect bad breath and worse skin.

Don't be surprised if they are defensive,  they are used to non-technical people reinterpreting what they say into goo.

They are not pets, don't give them treats and expect them to do tricks for higher management.

Don't be surprised if they are female and then assume they are lesbian or are easy.

Recognise that you are in the way unless you take part in the process.

Don't mistake cynicism for lack of committment.

Don't keep secrets from them.

Simon Lucy
Monday, August 5, 2002

Like Joel says, your job is to make their's easier.

Demonstrate your role as thus, and the rest is 'noise'

Monday, August 5, 2002

Just let them do the job.

Evgeny Goldin
Monday, August 5, 2002

The important thing to know is what you don't know.  You likely understand the features.  You don't know how long it takes to implement a particular one, and you might not know how good your developers are.

But you are still very useful.  You make sure there are lines of communication between coworkers.  You also make sure that end users of your "solution" try it out while your coworkers watch (nothing is more powerful than watching people use your creation).  You are lubricant.  Just be good at this, and respect comes free.

Know their motivations.  Developers are motivated by good work, and their morale is easily deflated by bullshit things that have nothing to do with work.  They don't give a damn about the company, except when it is incidental to facilitating good work.  So be incidental to good work.  You still might fail, because all the good management in the world can't turn bad developers into gold, but you've done your part.

Monday, August 5, 2002

hmm, I did not understand the thing about lesbian developers..?

Zwarm Monkey
Monday, August 5, 2002

"The important thing to know is what you don't know.  ..."

That's the story of my life ;)

Monday, August 5, 2002

Excellent advice from James. 

Present yourself as eager to learn even when you know the subject matter.  Empower your employees by emphasing their special skills in group settings and letting it be known that you rely on them for one thing or another.  Be their champion by removing obstacles in their way (make a big deal about this so they see you are doing it, but don't be obvious about it).  Always prepare whenever their is a presentation to anyone outside the group - go over the plan of attack and ask them what they need you to do, then do that.  They need to get in the habit of thinking of you as someone on their side, and a member of the team. 

One of the best managers I had was a "non-techie" - she did all these things and the team adored her!

Tuesday, August 6, 2002

Thank you all for the response. Hopefully I can implement your suggestions.

Tuesday, August 6, 2002

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