You were the perfect MBA student. Now you are a competent management graduate ready to conquer the job market. There’s just one skill that an MBA might have not prepared you for–the dreaded question of all for a non-tech person–do you have technical background?
Look around you and you’ll find that most of the jobs in the market are somehow related to technology. Whether you’re in finance or in fashion–technological innovations have touched every field. That’s why you need to know the ins and outs of a techie’s brain before you try to “manage” these brilliant resources.
Here’s what you need to absolutely understand about technical jobs and the nature of technical work before trying to manage people.
- Management is totally different from technical work
- As a manager in a non-tech managing role, you might have strong interpersonal skills, be able to streamline operations to meet estimates and deadlines, make effective presentations and deal with clients. But as a tech manager, without a basic understanding of how tech works, you are completely in the dark.
- Thus, it’s essential you have at least a working idea of how the tech managed by your team works. Call in the experts, ask questions and listen until you have a good grasp of what you’re dealing with.
- Don’t let your ego get in the way of listening to technical workers. Understand what they mean and incorporate their perspective into the management plan.
- Understand that tech is creative
- A technical job involves creative work as opposed to manual labour involved in mechanical production processes. This is especially true in the Information Technology (IT) industry.
- As such, you can’t force productivity by changing the production process. Increasing the work hours or setting unrealistic deadlines will only torment developers and not result in greater productivity.
- Another thing with creative work is that you can’t set rigid deadlines for delivery of a product. A reasonable deadline is fine but you can never be sure the project won’t run into problems (it invariably does). Budget in additional time for troubles your team might run into.
- Always set deadlines based on feedback from developers who work on the project and don’t make uninformed and arbitrary unilateral decisions.
- Understand a project before trying to manage it
- Before you approve a project with all the requirements, conditions and clauses, have a discussion about the product description, deadlines and the nature of work involved with your developer team.
- Act as an effective intermediary between the client and the technical team, help both understand each other while reaching a mutual decision.
- Enter an orientation session, maybe for a week, to get familiar with what product development entails and how you can best help your team.
- Learn how the project is progressing from those in the know, throughout product development.
- You could invite clients to look at the project progress every once in a while.
- Making an effort to understand the technical part and listening to developers will also earn you the respect of the technical team and build worker morale.
- Ultimately, these measures increase productivity.
- Stand up for your team
- Take responsibility when something goes wrong.
- Understand what went wrong from experts and your technical team.
- Change management strategy based on inputs from the technical team and convey the developments to the client, company board and CEO in a comprehensible manner.
- Promote and nurture talent
- You can encourage talent by recognising and appreciating exemplary work done by developers.
- You can also reward outstanding work and recommend great developers for promotions.
- Get an expert to evaluate work done by developers and don’t reward based on your opinion.
You don’t have to be a tech whiz to manage tech workers. But you do need an aptitude for tech to understand the processes involved in tech production so as to not harm worker morale and improve productivity. Do you think you have what it takes to be a manager in the tech field? Either way, if you are looking for a management role, you can find some great managing jobs online at sites like iimjobs.com.