Learning how to become a good tech manager is difficult. There isn’t a lot of documentation available and developers don’t discuss the topic a lot. This means most new managers learn on the job, which isn’t always ideal. My talk offers five tips to help developers begin their management journey.
The aim of the talk is to encourage more developers to consider management as a career option and to offer useful advice to those starting out. The talk covers five basic points:
- Good developers don’t always make the best managers: It is often assumed the best developers are the people who should manage. This isn’t the case and developers should not be put off management because they aren’t the best developer they know or work with. Managers need many other skills such as communication to become good managers and code ability is only one part of the required skill set.
- Mistakes will happen: Fear of failure often stops people taking on new challenges. Developers must not be put off management because of fear of responsibility and failure. Mistakes are guaranteed to happen and managers must learn to take responsibility for them, find solutions and move on. No-one will blame a manager if they handle mistakes well.
- Managers should expect the unexpected: When you become a manager you are not just responsible for developers’ code, you’re also responsible for their well-being and behaviour. All new managers should be prepared for anything to happen and not be surprised by anything. A sense of humour can help.
- Managers need to learn to compromise: Learning to compromise is essential to good management as not everyone will think like you. Compromise though is a balance between being belligerent and a pushover, too much of either will result in disaster.
- Managers should keep coding: Many developers believe if they become a manager they will have to stop coding. Nothing code be further from the truth. A manager does less coding, but they must be engaged with code. And they only have to find a small amount of time each week to stay in the know.
The talk covers examples from development, sport, history and my personal experience as a tech manager.
You can read the rough outline of the talk on my blog: http://rbrt.wllr.info/2018/03/12/five-tips-tech-team-management.html
I’ve given this talk at:
- PHP London
- PHP Dorset
- PHP Hants