Hello, sorry if this has been asked before, but a quick search in the forums didn't turn up anything.

I was wondering what people thought about a ''playing manager'' versus one who  performs exclusively leadership and advisory roles.  In one seminar I heard that leaders prepare for the future, so accordingly time invested needs to be not about solving immediate problems, but preventing others before they it recruiting, mentoring, improving work environment, contributor education, etc.  

My experience in practice is understaffed or poorly managed projects get behind schedule, problems arise, so upper management says "OK, this time we are in a bind so pull back on the leadership and start coding so we can make this deadline." In doing so management and communication suffer, and the company doesn't grow, it stagnates as team cohesion degrades.

I personally am an advocate for leaders doing dedicated leadership (including design review, peer review, self-education of course), and I believe there is always more that can be done in those management areas that will pay off down the line.  However, in looking at career opportunities on a lot of software companies' sites, I see "we want a director that will also make significant technical contributions/coding".


Thanks guys.

STEVENM's picture

I don't think there's any question that someone dedicating fully their time and resources is going to lead to better results than a split effort.  The problem is getting people to recognize that value as it requires taking the long view.  And overcoming resistance to change.  Assuming you can get it resolved at all where you are.

This is par for the course though.  It's not just in management either.  Take a look at half of the Business Analyst roles out there and you'll see they're trying to get a free QA team member out of it as well.  It can be good for people new to a skill, gives them a chance to wear that hat as well and build up.  But rarely is it reflected in the pay.

*shrugs* They decide what the roles are.  You only get to decide if you're willing to fill it.