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(Dys)functional Managers

IMHO, “functional” engineering managers (e.g. software, hardware, systems, test, etc) should be charged with: developing their people, removing obstacles to their progress, ensuring that tools and training are available, and streamlining bloated processes so that their people can work more efficiently and produce higher quality work outputs. Abdicating these responsibilities makes these dudes (dys)functional bozo managers in my (and maybe only my) eyes.

It really blows my mind when (dys)functional managers are allowed to anoint themselves “chief architect” over and above individual product team functional leads. It’s doubly annoying and counterproductive to an org when these BMs don’t work hands-on with any of the org’s products day-to-day, and they haven’t done any technical design work in this millenium. If I was their next level manager (and not a BM myself so that I could actually see the problem), I’d, as textbook clone managers love to say, “aggressively address” the BM problem by making it crystal clear what their real job is. I’d follow up by periodically polling the BM’s people directly to evaluate how well the BM is performing. Of course, I’m not fit to lead anyone, so you should totally ignore what I say :^)

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