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Appliablity

In the “good ole’ days”, products, along with the development and production processes to create them, were much simpler. Modern day knowledge-intensive products require both deep and broad know-what and know-how to be successful in the marketplace. Accordingly, in the “good ole’ days” many front line and second tier managers were skilled enough to man the production lines when workers went on strike. In knowledge-intensive industries like software development, that’s no longer true – even if the manager was an engineer just prior to promotion. It’s especially true in today’s fast moving environment where skills become obsolete as soon as they’re mastered. D’oh!

Another way of expressing the idea above is in the corpo lingo of “appliability”. For the most part, managers don’t have the skills to be appliable anymore. They’re a pure overhead expense to the orgs they work for. Thus, unless they’re PHORs, they’re a drain on profits. The next time a non-PHOR manager tells you that “you’re expensive to employ” retort back “at least I’m appliable” – if you dare.

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