Monday, August 27, 2012

The Problem Of Too Many Managers!

Problem 1:

The problem in India is that everyone wants to be a manager. We have 10 managers  to manage a team of 4 technical people. Even technical people who love what they do are forced to think that they "will" have to do MBA and become manager. I am stressing 'will' because they don't look at it as a choice but are compelled to do MBA. People believe that by doing MBA they will have a better career growth (read more salary). But after doing MBA and becoming a manager, they will manage the same group of people having the same technical skills that was present in them before.

For example, when  I interview young candidates in their mid twenties and ask them their 5 year or 10 year plan, everyone says that they want to become a Project Manager. Doesn't matter if they really have the aptitude for that or whether they even know what is involved in being a project manager. Not a single software developer in this age group has told me that they would love to do software coding at the age of 35-40.

If everyone will become a manager, then who will implement, design and innovate?

Problem 2:

We have people working in HR who do not know what kind of skill sets is required in the company to get the job done. There are HR managers and recruiters who hire technical people for the company but they have no clue what goes on to make that work order. The same group of people also are involved in performance appraisals!

For a HR manager, if you have 2 year experience in Java, you are equivalent to all the other people in the world who have 2 years experience in Java. It doesn't matter what kind of work you have done in those two years. This makes IT software consultancy a commodity rather than a team of experts working to solve a someone's problem. Please note that I am not doubting whether the person is good at the role of HR. Surely that person might be good in human relations.

Similarly, someone working in the Sales department of an IT consultancy firm might not have written a single piece of code his/her entire life. This person might be a great sales guy and having a penchant for attracting people, but  you also need to have the domain knowledge to understand the customer's needs.



Solution:

I think the solution for both these problems is that technical people should be part of HR, Sales, Finance and handle teams in these areas. For this, they should do MBA to learn the finer concepts in that role. The first thing to do is to understand your aptitude, and then accordingly choose the MBA stream that can further enhance your aptitude. Your aptitude could be that you are good at interacting with people, or you are good with numbers or you are simply good in engineering. After doing MBA, you can put your technical skills and aptitude to good use and make a difference in the organisation. But please do not do MBA just to enhance your package.


If we do not address these 2 problems, we are in danger of making a Manager itself as a commodity (third problem).We will have too many HR managers, too many Sales Managers and too many Project Managers who have no differentiating factor among themselves.