EppsNet Archive: Profiles in Management

Profiles in Management: The Liar

My boss’s boss resigned yesterday. If I had to sum him up in one sentence, I would say — and I think he would take this as a compliment — that he made Machiavelli look like a goddamn amateur . . . Thus spoke The Programmer. Read more →

Profiles in Management: The Baffled Bigwig

Our Sr. EVP dropped by today for a meet and greet . . . he was 45 minutes late, and when he arrived, it was obvious he had no idea who he was talking to. “Is this the IT group?” he asked. It was explained to him that some of the people were from IT, but some were from the call center and tech support. “And do they all report to you?” he asked the senior manager in the room. Here’s a little trick I’ve picked up over the years: When you’re addressing a group of people, take a few minutes beforehand to learn who they are. It will make them feel less insignificant. After this fiasco, he went off to a catered meeting with other highly compensated executives, and I went out to buy my own lunch. Prediction: This meet and greet will be mentioned in at least two… Read more →

Profiles in Management

If our Director of Project Management took the time that he spends fine-tuning his goatee, his eyewear and his hair color, and put it into reading one or two of the classic software management texts, I probably wouldn’t get so squeamish every time I have to look at him. I would also feel a little better about my career if our CEO didn’t wander into product demos while stuffing his face with Cheetos from the vending machine. Thus spoke The Programmer. Read more →

Profiles in Management: The Intrepid Imbecile

We have some vending machines at our office, in a small alcove off the development area — the kind that have the snacks lined up between spiral rods, so when you buy something, the appropriate rod rotates and the snack drops down for you. This is obviously a horrible design for a couple of reasons: I don’t want my M&Ms dropped from a height because it breaks them; and Sometimes the packaging of the snack gets hung up on the rod and the snack doesn’t drop. When that happens, the victim usually rocks the machine back and forth trying to dislodge the snack. This often works, but not on the first couple of tries. It also makes an incredible racket. I’ve heard that vending machines are extremely top-heavy and tip over easily, but so far — despite my fervent hope that someone will be mashed flat as a lesson to… Read more →

Profiles in Management: The Protector

Cast of Characters Manager, the leader of a software project that is floundering because his needlessly complex design cannot actually be implemented. Programmer, a programmer on the project.   Manager: Keep working hard, and I will protect you should things break down. Programmer: Protect me from what? That sounds kind of ominous. Manager: Some people may be worried that if the project fails, they may get a bad review, or not get a bonus. But I’m looking at whether or not people are working hard, even if the project isn’t going well. So as long as you’re not goofing off, and you don’t have a bad attitude, you should be all right.   A “bad attitude” in these cases is defined as pointing out that 20 people have been working on the project for two months without producing a single working line of code, because they’ve been asked to yoke… Read more →