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Comment Re:hierarchical org fail (Score 1) 312

I have a background in software development, and am disgusted by the situation engineers have to face in most companies today. I have tried to move into management specifically to create the type of company where managers serve engineers, free them from the bullshit and allow the engineers to create cool products that delight the customers. Apart from that I believe managers should mostly get out of the way.

One day, should I ever discover a company that doesn't try to destroy the souls of its engineers, I hope to move back into a technical role and actually create cool products that delight customers again.

But I don't expect to ever see that day. I will die a manager, but at least one that tried to make a difference.

Comment Re:*All* the benefits? (Score 1) 312

I think it is terrible that managers get paid more than engineers. It is mostly because their ass is on the line when things go wrong I think.

I would much rather see situations where the people that actually create the product get paid the most, and those in a supporting role, like managers get paid less.

The only problem is, this would mean that the engineers would have to take on the responsibility, make the hard decisions, and accept the consequences when things go wrong.

Or maybe that isn't a problem. Maybe that is how it should be.

Comment Re:I see his point (Score 1) 312

I am not so sure I agree with this 100%. I see what you mean, and agree that engineers might make good "technical project managers" or team leaders. But I have seen engineers in senior management roles destroy companies by thinking like engineers. It required people with a good understanding of things like finance, the market, and the customer to come in and save the situation.

Comment Re:hierarchical org fail (Score 1) 312

Including engineers. But I think they are right. The people that actually create the value are the most important. Ideally they could do this without managers, but most companies are a long way from that. Managers are less important, and probably should be seen more as servants than bosses of the engineers, but they are still required, at least for the meantime in most companies.

I am really excited by some radical companies that are experimenting with not having managers. It does require especially good engineers willing and able to take on some of the management responsibilities though.

Comment Re:hierarchical org fail (Score 1) 312

I agree. There are movements around to try and change things. There have been since the 60s. Managers resist them for fear of losing power.

Engineers laugh at them, don't understand them, or don't care. They see them as some new management fad, ignore it, and go on suffering under the current bullshit system.

If engineers don't care, nothing will change, and they only have themselves to blame.

Comment Re:Uh huh (Score 1) 312

I always thought this 2 track thing was typical. Most consulting companies have 2 tracks like you mentioned. Sometimes I see 3 tracks. The technical as you mentioned, and the management role split into 2 tracks. Those with an external focus who do sales and marketing, company strategy and product design who know the business domain, the customer, the market and the products really well (I guess a project manager track), and those with a more internal focus that look after the company and employees and understand team work, motivation, pricing, training, employment law, contracts, internal culture etc, (the line management track I guess).

All very different skills, and very different focus areas. Often requiring quite different personalities too.

Comment Re:Uh huh (Score 1) 312

Well that is ok. Good engineers probably shouldn't try switching to a management career. A lot of people are under the assumption that engineering manager is a promotion, and builds on the skills of, engineers. Not true. It is or should be a very different job.

You don't want managers with a strong technical background in most cases, or they end up neglecting their management duties and start poking their nose in and micromanaging the engineers.

Managers should probably rather have a background in something else like psychology, or the business domain, or finance or statistics or something.

Comment Re:It's personality (Score 4, Insightful) 312

Heh I agreed with the first bit. But I thought the second bit was going somewhere else.

The best engineers are self managing, communicative, get on well with others, have a customer focus, understand the market and the domain and have an understanding of how knowledge work flows through a product development system. They understand risks and can make decisions. They don't get bogged down in the details of the latest tech toy, and are able to deliver, constantly what the customer wants with high quality.

Good engineers can still fall short in one or two areas, that is why we need managers.

Comment Re:they exist but do not have titles? (Score 2) 312

Managers don't need to know the details of what the engineers are doing, we have engineers for that. Especially for managers that are closer to the market or the customer, or other parts of the business.

It is fairly legitimate that those who can't "do" in the sense of the actual engineering work, are found in management roles. That is ok though. You could spin it around and say that those who can't manage end up "doing", which is fine too. Both types of role are required to successfully generate market value.

Anyway, it isn't usually engineers who are promoted to management roles, but product people such as business analysts in the software world, or experts in the actual domain like bankers or insurance experts. If we consider a company that makes say medical devices, it is more likely that doctors or people with a medical background will become the managers rather than the engineers who work on the products.

Comment Re:they exist but do not have titles? (Score 1) 312

That would probably be "leadership", which is slightly different from management, and possibly a potential replacement for what we recognise today as management.

Also good engineering managers won't often be, or need to be, good engineers themselves. Just because someone knows about electronics or programming, doesn't mean they know about things like risk management, team motivation, pricing of knowledge work, what the market wants, etc. And they are unlikely to be interested in much of the paperwork aspects, or the politics and the continual selling and marketing of ideas that needs to take place.

A good engineering manager is unlikely to (need to) be a good engineer. Fairly different personalities are required as well as skill sets.

Comment Bollocks (Score 1) 347

Science is explicitly NOT a moral pursuit. Science is objective, morality is subjective. There would be no need for morality if things could be scientifically proven good or bad in the way that things can be proven true or false, or arguments valid or invalid.

Science does seek truth, morality does not. The best it can seek is consensus.Science is indeed impartial, morality is about picking a side. "Collective well being" may be one end goal of scientific thinking, but never at the expense of truth, and as soon as one engages in science specifically for such a goal one is no longer impartial.

Also date-rate is a poor topic for such an experiment as it is easy for most people to conclude that it is wrong based on universally shared principles (note: nothing to do with science). In fact it sounds like the researchers didn't even think twice about forming such a moral position in advance and merely compared to which degree the participants chose a moral position that agreed with theirs. Far better would be the trickier issues like political positions, abortion, polygamy, homosexuality, vegetarianism etc.

Even if the experiment was sound, the interpretation is ridiculous. The observed correlation could still be interesting, but we would need to conduct more, better, experiments and interpret the results better.

My hypothesis would be : Assuming science enthusiasts go on less dates as young singles than the general population they have less exposure to situations where tricky situations arrive, i.e. getting drunk and having sex. Many of the less-scientifically minded have probably had situations where a mistake was made, or judgement was poorly executed, and are less likely to make blanket judgements condemning certain behaviours outright. A science enthusiast that hasn't been in that situation is likely to consider himself, should he find himself in that situation, as being capable of exemplary behaviour, he may not consider himself as likely to make mistakes, have less tolerance for mistake making in general, and more prepared to take a harder moral position against the very human behaviour of making mistakes.

And what the hell is "belief in science"?

I have seen more intellectual rigour on /r/Atheism

Comment Kanban (Score 1) 221

You need a full service, deep Kanban implementation to evolve your process into a flow based one. You can have separate classes of service, with separate prices, for new development, and support and operations tickets with different urgencies. Once upstream stakeholders are clear on team capacity, they can negotiate amongst themselves about which items should be done next, which can be done later, and which are probably not going to be done at all. I think with a good system design, concrete measurements of throughput and lead time, paying attention to the way work flows through the system and full transparency you can at least make upstream stakeholders aware that they cannot have it all.

Comment How about writing code for about 20% of the day? (Score 1) 352

I am a software developer, with a CS degree and I only spend about 20-40% of the day writing code. The rest is sitting around in front of the white-board with the team actually developing the software, talking with customers about requirements, a few meetings, attending conferences, giving and attending presentations, preparing reports, researching.

I did have one employer once who thought that software developers just sat at the computer typing in code all day. I didn't stay there very long.

A software developer spends about as much time typing into a pc as the typical office worker, and about as much time with people as your typical office worker too.


Submission + - Pthreads vs Win32 threads

An anonymous reader writes: It's interesting when different people have different opinions. While I was searching for something on Intel's website, I came across an article on why Windows threads are better than Posix threads. Curiously, I also came across this article on why Posix Pthreads are better that Win32 threads. The thing is, both of these articles are written by the same author!

So who is right (metaphorically speaking?), or what has changed since the first article was written?

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