Having had a technical management job, and coming from the trenches, the biggest problem I faced was the other managers and my direct superior. The single most important thing you need to do, is make sure you turn into 'the grey man' that is to say, if you're good at your job, make sure it's subtle. Also keep a tight ship. It's the little things that will screw you - make sure you 'copy the master roster', our entire studio was rostered with excel (really), and if I didn't copy my team's roster to the master roster, it was the end of the word. For you - it will be some equally ridiculous process made by a manager of questionable ability - just do it.
Basically in middle management, especially the bottom rung, its a game. Stay out of the way, and keep everything tidy.
Sounds like some unfortunate office politics. Were you promoted into that position or hired into it? How big was the development staff?
So, my story is a little different. At 51, I'm attempting to make a career change into coding. I currently work in television. I was hired into the role of head of audio for a network. I had 3 people on staff and about 20 freelancers, as is the way with broadcast.
To be honest, I don't think it matters the industry in middle management. People are people. You're going from basically the person who 'is' the product (your fingers type the code that people pay in some way to use), to managing those people. Once you're in that realm, it's all pretty much the same.
I can't emphasise enough: your peers will be your biggest challenge. Don't underestimate people's ambition, and what they'll do to get to where they want to be. You're not the only one with ambition, basically. It's not unfortunate politics, it's day to day reality. To think otherwise, perhaps is a little naive.
Do a good job, but don't beat your chest. Keep a clean desk, but have work ready to go. Keep your frustration to yourself, but support change (if it comes). Basically keep your head down and keep the machine running.
I know this is all very uncool and not very Silicon Valley, but if you heed my advice, you'll do ok. Caution with a hint of cynicism will serve you well (look at your C level leaders).
This was great, I really appreciate the detailed answer!
We're a place where coders share, stay up-to-date and grow their careers.
We strive for transparency and don't collect excess data.