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Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Steward delegation vs. Gopher delegation

In the beginning of the year I finished reading 3 very interesting books:
"Getting Things Done" - David Allen
"7 Habits of highly succesful people" - Stephen Covey
"How to win friends and influence people"- Dale Carnegie

The most influential for me was definitely "7 habits of highly succesful people" and I like the way the author describes the leading of a team.
There are principles like this described in Dale Carnegie's book and as a human doing knowledge work - computer programming for the record I do agree with the "stewardship" approach.
The problem is that the IT world especially in Romania is filled with the "Gopher" delegation that is the boss controls everything and is responsible for everything and the developers are just dumb peons doing the grunt work.
I do not think this is a productive approach for either the company or employee as the employee looses his confidence and ability to learn and the managers of the company get way too low into details to do anything productive.

Today was just another day when I could barely think. I am trying to setup a steward delegation system in my team that is everybody get's his section to develop and be responsible for and we meet at the end of the day to see how far we all advanced.

Unfortunately the way the before-me leader did it was by gopher delegation and people try to follow the same pattern. I have to admit with beginner developers it is easier to manage by Gopher delegation then by steward delegation but I feel that I am going nowhere with Gopher Delegation.
So today I did implement about 95% of what I wanted to implement ... but people in my team did not do so well and I was supposed to guide them and help them. The thing is I do not always know how to do it and I can't always analyse their problems as I should - the result is a mountain of interruptions coming at me and destroying the one thing I love when coding : " The Flow".
No flow means no productivity and people should understand this sooner or later when doing the coding. Did I mention that "Gopher delegation" style of management is always associated with open plan offices ?
Communication is valuable , but when talking about your holidays while people around are working I suggest you do it elsewhere and yes I know you will hate me for that , it's just that I don't care.

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