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Managing Programmers

August 30, 2007 by Mainak Biswas under Management268 views
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Programmers are intelligent, problem solvers. If you can’t believe this then please move on, this is not a post for you. If you are managing a group of programmers then here are the things that you should concentrate on: 

Remove Obstacles
By obstacles, I mean real ones. Things like Hardware, A.C not working, improper lighting, noise, printer out of paper, furniture, wending machine, pending feedbacks occupies very expensive portion of a programmer’s brain. You need to free this up so that they con concentrate on job. If you land up in a job which involves managing a group of programmers then the first thing you should do is make sure that the environment is appropriate for working and all barriers to productivity has been taken care of or at the very least, the programmer don’t have to bother about them. 

Maintain flow of work
A large part of your effort should be spent on maintaining the flow of work for the programmer. By this I don’t mean signing more contracts! You need to make sure that when the programmer comes in to office every morning they know what needs to be accomplished today. The programmer needs to know the work queue that has been lined up so he can go full throttle and get things done. 

Get them the information they need
It’s not that programmers don’t have business acumen, it’s just that they are closed to any problems that cannot be solved by writing codes. If that doesn’t makes sense to you, then think about why certain things don’t appeal to you. Thus, save them from this anguish and get them the information they need to know about the application. Don’t send a business case and expect them to deliver a working product.  They are more interested in knowing what the application needs to do.  

Don’t talk technical
This is only for the non-techies who need to manage programmers. Talking to them about technical aspects is the surest way to loose your respect. In case you can’t resist then try being suggestive rather than authoritative. I don’t think that managers respect better managers with the same intensity as a programmer respects a better programmer. Thus if your suggestions are shallow then you will loose respect forever and moreover, if they have to implement your solution then they will end up hating you. Stay away from this and rather focus your energy on getting the first three points. 

Feel free to add to the list – the world really needs one!

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