Technical people are great at solving technical problems, that’s what makes them technical people. But a lot of technical people, maybe most of them, aren’t nearly as good at dealing with people problems; many of them went into tech specifically to avoid dealing with people. Combine an aversion to dealing with people problems with a tendency to think that every issue is a CRISIS, and you have a recipe for a lot of time wasted on unnecessary, toxic drama.

My job as a manager is to figure out what makes technical people tick (it helps that I am one, so much of my research starts with self-examination), and give them what they need to be successful long-term, so that not only the current project, but the next one and the one after that, can be successful. Simple in theory, sometimes very complicated in practice.

(To be honest, I believe that most of the things I’ve learned working with techies are generally applicable to working with anybody, but I only have direct evidence for what I’ve done myself.)


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