Wednesday, 9 January 2013

You might be my manager, but know your place...

I love what I do. But I have to admit, I've spent a lot of time developing personal coping mechanisms to deal with various frustrations that seems to be routine in IT. Today I going to talk about the issue of 'function'.

Everybody in IT has their function. Developers develop. Testers test. Operations engineers make sure everything operates correctly. Managers manage. I like this kind of system, it's simple and makes sure that everybody knows what they're responsible for.

But what I hate is when people try to take responsibility for things outside their function. Too often this comes from management. If you're my manager, I'm happy to be managed. But when it comes to the engineering solutions, let me deal with that. Because it's my job. I understand that sometimes there are business requirements that can conflict with a solution, such as price, time to deliver, company strategy, internal politics, whatever... But when it comes to deciding how a solution will be implemented, that my domain. You want backups? You got it. You say I have to use Netbackup/Tivoli/some-specific-product to achieve it, you need to justify why it's the best for this problem. Otherwise, stick to management.

At the core, I believe that many of my own frustrations and those of people I've worked with, comes down to respecting the functions of the people in the company and knowing where to draw the line of responsibility. By this I mean if a developer tells me she has requirement x for the software she needs to deploy, the I should accommodate her requirements unless I can justify a different course of action that would better serve the business objective. And if I say to my manager "To solve this problem I need x,y and z," my manager should do the same.

If everybody does their job the way it was supposed to be done, work will be a much happier place.

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