Busy Managers Mean Bad Management

Sep 12th, 2002 by Tony in QSM1

Managers often say that it’s not their fault that they’re so busy, and they are often right. Outside factors may indeed be too disturbing to be regulated, but that usually because managers at a higher level are not doing an effective job of regulating the outside factors. When upper levels of management pass the pressure down, this is equivalent to holding a blowtorch on a thermostat in an attempt to warm the room. This kind of higher-level ineptness does tend to make it impossible for a lower-level controller to be effective.

Managers who lack self-confidence, of course, will always say that they are busy. It isn’t befitting them to admit to slack-time. You can test the quality of management by interviewing employees and finding out how long they had to wait to see their manager for an unscheduled contact.

If managers do not have a reserve of time, they cannot be managing effectively. In a well-run project, nowhere near a crisis, the managers may put in a full day, but thy have lots of time to damp out crises before they get off the ground.

— Jerry Weinberg, Quality Software Management Vol 1, Chapter 17

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