Management for Geeks – Expanding your existence

I always wanted to be a manager. I was sure that I could do it image much better then anyone else and I could always see the mistakes of my previous managers.

Some months back, it suddenly hit me, I am a geek, I don’t really know how to manage. Although I have managed in the past, I am a much better programmer then a manager and I don’t think that I was ever managed before.

What I normally do in these situations is to study, so I goggled about management, read many books and tried different techniques. From Agile to Six Sigmas, Scrum and Lean, The problems with these are that although these techniques talk about the human factor, they actually deal with processes.
I went to Startup conferences where all the successful entrepreneurs said that the one and most important factor to the success of your business is the team that you have.

Ok, So how do you get the best team? There wasn’t a really good answer to this.

At the same time I was introduced to Moti Aloni from one of the parents in my child’s kindergarten, Moti is a Business Coacher and we started practicing together how to be a manager. I have really learnt allot with Moti. As an autodidact, I was really surprised that I learnt things that I just couldn’t learn myself.

We started out with an example from an Hypothetical Company about what was happening in Typemock.

Phone Ringing….

Me: Yes! [I like to think of myself as positive]

John: Hi, My name is John, I am a great developers and I have a application that together with your product will make you 1 million dollars, and it only costs 10 grand! Would you like to meet me.

Me: (I know that what he says is true, and he is the only person in the world that can write this – as he has a patent):
   Yes, I heard about this, lets meet.

John: Ok, How about Wednesday at 10:00

Me: Great!

Wednesday at 10:00, John didn’t arrive.
I Call, but there is no answer

Thursday at 10:00, John calls: "Sorry I missed you yesterday, my mum is sick and I had to take here to the hospital. Lets meet tomorrow at 10:00"

Friday at 10:00, John didn’t arrive.
At 11:15 John comes in "Sorry I am late, there was a lot of traffic"

I see a demo of the program.
Me: That is great, when will it be ready.
John: In a month.
Me: Great, So lets meet next month
John: I need 70% up front, you know that I am the only one who can do this for you, and that once it is done you will gain 1 million next year, you only have to pay $7,000 now and $3,000 next month.
Me: [A bit weary] Ok, here is the money. Let see your progress next week at 10:00

Next week at John calls at 11:30
John: Sorry, I couldn’t make it, I was busy debugging the program, So I have nothing to show you yet, but we are progressing, lets talk next week

Two weeks later I am on the phone

Me: Hi John, how is the development
John: Sorry, I am still debugging the program, So I have nothing to show you yet, but we are progressing, lets talk next week.

A month later

Me: Hi John, how is the development
John:Errr, It is not done yet
Me: Why?
John: We had a lot of support, and there was a very large bug.
Me: Ok, how much is finished?
John: Not Much, We had many things in our iteration plan and our velocity just doesn’t allow it. I need more resources.
Me: Ok, take another Developer.

Next Month.
Me: can I see the application?
John: Errr, It is not done yet
Me: Why?
John: We needed to train the developer.

Next Month
Me: can I see the application?
John: Errr, you know we are spending alot of time communicating with Marketing, We just don’t have time.

Most of you would have stopped talking to John ages ago, some would have taken him to court and some would have never taken this opportunity.
But the truth is, that John is really me. It is two sides of myself, that is why I believe in him and why he is the only person that can write the application, but something is just not working here. I am delaying the important stuff that I need to do and have loads of excuses to myself.

I need to find a way to solve this and get things running by myself. Once I find the secret Ingredients I will be on the right track to management

  1. Hi,

    I think you really nicely described a common problem for developers here. I can really find myself in this situation.

    Right now, my official title says “.NET developer”, but I am responsible for meeting customers, project administration, training a junior developer, functional and technical analysis of multiple projects, laying groundworks for a future project, fixing and developing an existing project etc, etc…

    I find it really hard to manage all these things, while still trying to do what I love to do, developing…

    While I wanted more responsibilities in the first place, I’m not unhappy with my job, au contraire, but I just find it hard to time-manage this stuff.

    When the secret ingredient comes along, be sure to tell me!

  2. Yup,
    Although this can really happen with Employees, that is why soo many software projects arrive late, without anyone really knowing when they will finish.
    And most of all it happens with yourself, you always give yourself another chance (and find elaborate excuses)

  3. could you plz say more about coaching / mentoring:
    how do you chose a coach?
    how much does it cost?
    what can you expect in return?
    when will you start seeing results?


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