Thursday, July 19, 2012

Some Thoughts on Management

Yesterday was my semi-annual performance review "check in" meeting.  This is a meeting where, basically, we sit down with our management, run over of performance objectives, and just take a measurement as to where we are in relation to them.  It is, theoretically, an opportunity for both sides to talk about performance issues. I am sure I drive my managers nuts (well, the bad ones anyway), because I am pretty frank in my assessment - both of my own performance and of the performance of my management and my company.  Yesterday was no exception to that process for me.  I have four major objectives this year - one of them has been excellent, two are average, and third (the project I have complained about here) is pretty much total chaos.  It has been amusing to me that the project that my upper management is most deeply involved in is the one that is the most chaotic.

So, this is what I "fed back" as far as performance is concerned.  The project is basically total chaos - it is not following any project execution plan that I can tell, it is all over the place. (I've completely passed the configuration deadlines for one portion of the process because my own upper management has refused to lock the requirements down and keeps changing them.)  It is not that I and my co-workers are not turning out a high quality of project, but rather that its pointless since micro-managing changes it, alters it, and in most cases, frankly, makes it worse and requires additional hours of rework.

The other area I frankly fed back was my manager had commented that I had not offered any creative solutions lately. I simply replied with the truth - until they started actually evaluating and implementing some of the creative solutions I've offered, my approach has become - what is the point?  We are in a top down micromanagement model right now, which is frustrating for those team members with a creative bent.

So, we are in a state of detente (at least where the one project is concerned).  Management is pressuring me to work more hours and I am pressure back with "stop making me waste time". I have no objections to a reasonable amount of casual overtime, but I can definitely push back hard when it becomes what I consider to be unreasonable.

One of the key responsibilities of management is managing the resources.  We do not have adequate resources for the project (which is what led directly and causally to the slipping schedule) - and that failure on managements part brings us to the classic saying - poor planning on your part does not make an emergency on my part.  Now, one of the things I always go through the day with an awareness of is that management always has the ability to re-assign resources, which includes firing me.  But, I approach it this way - I am very good at what I do, I work smart, I work wise - and if I were to be disciplined or fired for refusing to deliberately do a bad job, well, I can live with that.  That said, we get a new director every two or three years - so I sincerely hope this one, who is the root of all the problems at work - is approaching the end of their shelf life.

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