It Manager

The person referred to as the PHB (PointyHairedBoss). He also has a PHB.

Or, alternatively, someone who's been in the trenches, realizes there's more to fixing the problems with software development than mere technology, and wants to make a contribution to fixing the problem in the organization he or she is in. Being experienced and expert in both management and technology, puts someone in a good position to do just that -- PaulHudson (why is it an automatic assumption that managers are people who know nothing of the engineering side. It would be like always assuming all developers are like Wally from Dilbert).

Often people who call themselves managers do know nothing of the engineering side, and those from the engineering side shun the title with vigour.

Even if true, it doesn't justify an automatic assumption. You'll need to work with your management. Dismissing them as clueless won't help. It makes no more sense than automatically dismissing developers as incompetent cowboys -- PaulHudson (manager, with engineering background)

(See AnExtremeConversation for a recent example)

Perhaps it is because of a recent (past 8 years or so) influx of people interested in IT solely for the cash, and not for the love of the work. People getting their IT degrees from diploma mills that repackage various certifications and call them coursework. People who cannot do their job if the Microsoft tool they learned doesn't have a button to select for it. People who do not even know what parity bits are ... -- PeteHardie

What are parity bits? Look up Error Correction.

But are those people going into IT management, or elsewhere in IT? I don't see them in the managers I know (here in the UK). I do see them in the IT conversion-course MSc graduates I interview, though... -- PaulHudson

Yes, they are - if IT is populated with drones, who will get promoted to manage them? Typical corporate policy is to promote those from within, so the manager comes from the worker pool. -- PeteHardie

Well, not the people who are drones, obviously. I've not worked in many companies where the promotion criteria has been "lack of success at current position". YMMV. -- PaulHudson

My point is that with the influx of minimally-qualified people, all it takes is a slight success to get promoted, and that slight success can still be well below the functional competence required for the position. Combine this with the common lack of managerial skills in the technical worker (this one cuts across most boundaries - geeks and geek wannabes, etc), and you have the PHB. -- PeteHardie

I remain unconvinced this is happening much in practice.

But even if it is, does that justify the prevalent (here, at least) dismissive attitude of all managers as PHBs? It's no more valid than a page defining software developers as thoughtless code churners. I'd like to see more discussion of what makes a good GoodItManager, but comments like that at the top of this page seem to make that rather hard. -- PaulHudson

A remark recently heard teaching an MSc conversion course: "What's a text editor?". (This is sometimes followed by "what's a command line?".)

Can I get the icon in cornflower blue? (FightClub)


Computerworld links on leadership, etc at,1894,_LNK623,00.html


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