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heusserm (4461)

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Matt Heusser is JAPH and an XP-Er []. (The Methodology, not the Operating System.) Right now, he's doing a lot of Test Driven Development in Perl.

Journal of heusserm (4461)

Wednesday August 20, 2003
06:45 AM

Explaining Pointy-Haired Bosses

[ #14221 ]

Essentially, there are two kinds of jobs:

The first is innovative, creative, or catalytic. Artists, Engineers, Programmers, Architects, and Entreprenuers fall into this category.

The second is simply "doing what I was told." The cashier at McDonalds, the Assistant Janitor, and the security guard fall into this category.

This semester, I'm taking CS 643 - Information Systems Policy. The book is ISM In Practice: Sixth Edition. A typical case study might read like this:

Company X's ERP implementation was 1 year late, and vastly over budget. However, in the short time since the ERP system started, the company has allready realized cost savings from tigher integration - both horizontal and vertical.

What the heck does that mean?

From what I can tell, the book is just a little bit of Drucker, a little bit of Deming, a little bit of DeMarco and Lister, and a whole lot of the popular press management magazines (E-Week or InformationWeek or Whatever), all pre-digested and reguritated. (This was the conclusion I came to, then I read the reviews, which pretty much said the same thing.)

And this is CS 643 - it's the third course in the series of IS courses, intended for MS in CIS candidates who want to SPECIALIZE in ISMN.

I'm downright SCARED of what the MBA candidates who are specializing in "IT Management" are reading.

Here's the thing: From what I can tell, the book (and too many MBA programs) are trying to take a creative, thinking job (IT Management) and turn it into a management-by-rote job.

Creative people have real problems with rote jobs. Some of them get into process improvement, but, most of the time, they just quiety move on.

The result is that, all too often, the people who will "make it" in IT Management are the ones who don't like to think too much.

Thank goodness the company I work at isn't like that, but it does explain a lot about the over-abundance of Pointy-Haired Bossess ...

PostScript: On re-read, the stuff about seems to identify a problem and not a solution. My proposed solution? Let the students read Drucker, and Deming, and Goldratt for THEMSELVES, and come to thier own conclusions. It's harder, but it forces them to think - and thinking and making tough decisions is what makes great management, well ... great.
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  • There are two kinds of job; those that you shower before work, and those that you shower after.

    Words of wisdom from my Uncle. I've had both kinds :)
  • The result is that, all too often, the people who will "make it" in IT Management are the ones who don't like to think too much.
    As far as I can tell, that's pretty much the case in any management.

    Remember the Dilbert Principle -- that people will be promoted to the position they can do the least amount of damage at.


    You are what you think.