Give the amount of misinterpretation from my previous post, let me expand my hypothesis a little further.
I am quite comfortable with management, and I welcome it. And I love the fact the “Project Managers” do the secretarial work for my projects. However, the current business trend appears to go something like this :
Manager: I had a problem and by some effective management it was solved.
Engineer: By removing all my other tasks, or locating the correct resources, yes I was able to solve your problem.
Manager: I conclude that more management solves engineering problems. I will rush out now and get more management to solve more problems.
I do not have a problem with this approach. I have a hypothesis that the race to remove middle management over the last twenty years has probably reached its ultimate conclusion. We have replaced them with Project Managers who effectively perform the functions of middle management ((disclaimer: as stated previously, this is not derogatory to Project Management, far from it – it goes a long way in improving my life)). Many companies need more management time to control and direct business practice.
I suspect that many of the complaints that engineers direct at management are due to a shortage of management resource and skill. As proof, speak to engineers who have worked with good managers.
However, the “More Management is better” idea is flawed if taken too far ((and the reverse is also true)). Engineers tend to underestimate the time needed to complete a work package ((and there is a whole ‘nuther article)). At the critical point when this is realised, getting more engineers isn’t practical. Why ? Because they can be hard to get, takes time to insufflate the project knowledge and become a part of the team. Importantly, relative to project management, increasing engineering resource takes much longer so the tendency is to add PM’s and not engineers in critical phases of a project.
Some more engineering resource is the only solution. Applying more management doesn’t get the work done even though it might seem like it.
That’s the difference between soft and hard skills.