Irrelevant Management

Oct 30th, 2002 by Tony in QSM3

Busy management is bad management. To engage others, you have to be available, and availability is cited by new managers as one of the three most important characteristics in a mentor. The other two characteristics are setting high standards, and orchestrating developmental experiences, both of which also require a lot of engaging. Irrelevant managers keep busy doing irrelevant or unimportant things, or things they should be having others do.

If done well, management is a tough job, which is why they pay is premium. However, there will always be those managers who want to get paid for the hard parts of management work without actually doing them. Offering feedback is one of those hard parts. Under a performance appraisal system, placating or irrelevant managers can think, “Well, I won’t bring that up right now. I’ll save it for the performance appraisal in December.” Over the months, feedback accumulates to be dumped on people when it is too large and too late to do anything by create resentment and opposition. Managers appear to be doing management work, but they are simply creating trouble.

— Jerry Weinberg, Quality Software Management Vol 3, Chapter 15

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