I've just been put in charge of a software development team, and don't want to stuff it up. I'm interested to find out what are some of the things you valued most about the best managers you've worked for? And what are some of the things you hated the most about the worst managers you've worked for?
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- Give lots of credit where credit is due; a lot of code is under the hood and nobody really gets to see or use it directly
- Become somewhat knowledgeable in the field
- Give incentives (Employee of the month or outings or bonuses)
- Find out what people are doing and why
- Remember that programming is brain-work; someone staring out the window or pacing around may be doing more work than the person bashing away at the keyboard
- Get access to the bug base and version control system so you can see work happening in real time, understand the throughput rate of the team and get a feel for the status
- Read the specification documents and become an early user of the software so that you can make knowledgeable decisions about future feature request and reported bugs
- Don't give advice on things you don't know much about
- Don't try to get people to work harder or longer hours
- Don't accuse people of not working on their project; rather find out what they were doing instead (usually helping other people with their coding issues)
- Beware of refusing to purchase software/hardware that they request; unless you really understand why they don't need it
- Don't argue about schedules and deadlines; it's not usually possible to code faster - unless you want poor quality code. (And if you don't understand that, then review to Become somewhat knowledgeable in the field)