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Discussion on: How to Manage Programmers Without Losing Your Damn Mind

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Kamal Mustafa

Hi, nice writing. The problems you described are spot on although I'm not sure yet if the solutions are practical for me. Sometimes I have a feeling the actual problem probably me and if I'm not there, they might be performing better. I'm managing a team of ~6 programmers btw as you wrote above, still struggling to get them to the accepted performance level where I don't have to step in all the time to fix issues or get things moving.

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Michael Rice

Hey Kamal, yeah there's a LOT of information about management out there, and Blaine's got a great addition (nice job Blaine)!

A lot of the management advice out there doesn't apply very well to technical fields or those where we really need people to be highly creative problem solvers. So for me, I think there are four core behaviors to focus on day to day for tech leads or hands on EMs. Do these, and then most of the rest (like the stuff Blaine took a lot of time to document) will snap into place:

(1) get very, very good at listening to the team,

(2) have a strong bias for action (e.g., step into as many leadership moments as possible),

(3) get effective at crafting clear and compelling visions, and articulating them over and over -- even for the most mundane things

(4) get very effective at tracking what the team is doing and be quick to have adjustment conversations

Happy to share more!

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Blaine Osepchuk Author

Thanks, Kamel. This approach might not be right for everyone but it resonates with me and I thought I'd share it.

Even though I wrote quite a lengthy post, the process is actually very simple. And even if you just do the first couple of steps you'll probably end up better off that just automatically launching into solutions with your team every time someone has a problem.

Cheers.