Response: What a developer needs from their manager

I read an article about what developers need from their manager posted by Jason Young at yesterday. After giving it some thought, I realized there was one very important thing that was left off of that list.

Know what I do

Having a manager that takes interest in what you do and tries to learn about your job will be far more valuable to you than one who simply manages. Over the past five or six months, my boss (who is the VP of Ops where I work) has taken a keen interest in understanding each of the departments that report to him. So far, he’s done a great job.

By knowing what my dev team does, and how we do it, he has been able to explain things to the CEO, other VPs and directors with far more knowledge and understanding than before. This has all lead to a more efficient work flow, less awkward feature requests, and more realistic scheduling.

My manager started off as an accountant, so the analytical ability that developers should have is there in him, and that has been helpful in his learning about what it is developers do. We worked much the same way he did, but the technical aspect was fairly lost on him. He quickly learned what we did, but it took longer to build an understanding of how we did it.

Months of conversations explaining my processes to him, and explaining why we had implemented a certain design for a project finally led him to have an understanding that has truly proven useful to me.

I walked past where he and the director of project management were standing, discussing a change request that came from one of our clients, and why the impact would be so significant on the application. I stood and listened to what he said to the director. He explained it flawlessly. Nailed every detail. The PM Director even understood it all. I was impressed.

The end result of his learning and investment into my department was a solid understanding by the PM Director and the PM on the project of how the clients needs can be best met, without an impossible feature request weeks before launch.

My group is happy. My boss is happy. The client is happy. I can’t see anything wrong with that.

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1 comment

  1. 1 06.30.08
    12:03 pm

    [...] is probably the most important tip and is aimed more at the manager of a group than the developers. Setting unrealistic goals is one of the easiest ways to make sure a project [...]

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