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Kinds of Good Managers?

Alot of discussion on JOS on people's experience with
bad managers.    Has anyone here had the experience of working for "Good" managers?  If so, what kind of qualities/practices made them "good" managers?

Monday, April 21, 2003

Of all the managers I've worked for, the best one was the one who was available for me.

He was a former developer, so he understood what we were doing, but he didn't try to maintain a large programming role while managing. He was always available to talk, if you just wanted to shoot the breeze for a few minutes, and he never made me feel bad about poking my head into his office. He took good care of his people, including good workspace, games at lunch, and free food once a week.

He also made sure the vagarities of upper management weren't visited upon the developers. Even while the company was changing its business plan weekly, he did his best to keep things level for us. He always stuck up for us, and never passed the blame downward.

There were a lot of other things he did right as well (allowed people to challenge themselves in new projects, for one), but the most important thing to me was that he never acted like a Boss. He was always approachable and available.


Tuesday, April 22, 2003

I've only had one good one. He actually applied a bit of process managment to our un-process, and while increasing the workload a bit, actually made life easier. He was soon "let go" by management, and we once again descended into chaos.

Geoff Bennett
Tuesday, April 22, 2003

The best manager I've had was similar to the description of the first poster. For me, what really mattered was:

1) She wanted to know what I was working on - mainly to stay informed, not to micro-manage. This made me feel like someone actually gave a damn whether I did my job and that I did it well...while I was doing it.

2) She was available.

3) She succeeded in shielding the developers from the political nonsense above and around her.

4) She was always an advocate for the skill and talent of her team. We were an internal application development group and always had to "prove" that we were "real developers." Hence, we were paid equitably compared to other people in similar jobs in the company.

After I left the team for another position she was promoted to director of the division. She continually was ranked among the 5 best managers in the entire company (10K people) in the annual management feedback survey.

Of course you know what happened about 5 years later. Political stuff happened and now she is a developer and researcher for the same organization.

Just goes to show you...
Tuesday, April 22, 2003

The best manager I ever had was an engineer, and was indeed still actively coding when I was working for him.

Probably the best thing about him was that he was ruthlessly calm and methodical.  He made sure our procedures made sense, then insisted that we follow procedure -- unless there was a *very* good reason not to.  He would question *any* discrepancy.  You could hand him the printout for a two-line fix that absolutely had to be done today, and he'd carefully look it over before signing off on it.

This makes him sound like a painfully slow or exacting guy; he wasn't.  He was a monstrously intelligent coder.  But he knew that failing to follow sensible procedures is what introduces nasty bugs.

He also was so familiar with the development process that he wouldn't interrupt us unless there was a *very* good reason, and he knew enough to fight for good tools and work environment.

Great guy.

Brent P. Newhall
Wednesday, April 23, 2003

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