From: "John Jardine"
Subject: Re: Cutting corners?
Date: Mon, 23 Dec 2002 19:28:35 -0000
NNTP-Posting-Date: 23 Dec 2002 19:16:53 GMT
X-Newsreader: Microsoft Outlook Express 5.00.2615.200
John Larkin wrote in message
> On Mon, 23 Dec 2002 15:33:54 -0000, "John Jardine"
> >it wrote in message news:email@example.com...
> Personally, I think all this management bashing is silly and juvenile,
> and explains precisely *why* engineers need to be managed. The
> function of a manager is, first, to direct workers as to what they are
> supposed to do and when they should get it done. Left alone, without
> guidance from marketing, sales, and management, engineers wouldn't
> know what to design, and nobody would sell it when it was done, so
> there wouldn't be any money to pay them.
> I've seen far too many engineers and scientists start their own
> businesses, spend all their time playing with technology, and fail,
> because they weren't willing to manage *themselves*.
> In well-run companies, managers are ex- (or even still-) engineers,
> who understand the technology and can tell good, quick work from bad,
> slow stuff. The ones I work with - at Varian, Pratt&Whitney, Lockheed,
> Agilent, and several of the national labs, are generally very good.
I always remember a comment from either H or P of HP (both engineers?) that
his style of management was "management by walking about". He also
understood that if one of his engineers fancied building themself a hifi
using the companies hi-tec products, then by hook or by crook they would.
Completely bypassing any clever accounting or management system that may
have been in place. I believe he wrote an autobiog' and would love to read
more words of his wisdom.
The companies you mention are what I'd know as good companies. 'Shining
beacons' that should set an example to the rest. They make good use of their
skilled people and prosper because of it. I reckon though, they are part of
a minority, and the 'rest' don't take their example as they simply can't.
My own experience has been within that of UK companies and there may be
significant cultural differences between the US and UK but I've noticed the
higher that one rises within a UK company then the more likely that the
controllers are all of a similar class and background. The highest levels
are usually reserved for those having a upper-middle class protestant
background, expensive public school education, classics graduates, white and
male. Engineers/skilled people, don't even scan on their radar or are
regarded as people to be kept in a back room or simply nerds.
The general view from the top of the tree is that they alone are natural
born leaders and all the plebs must naturally follow. This view permeates
down through numerous layers of sub-servient management lackeys only
dissapating towards the engineering levels. The a**e-licking that goes on a
UK board meeting in session is *not* a pretty sight.
I therefore feel the majority of so called management quite rightly deserves
a good bashing.