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The Art of Project Management by Scott Berkun

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1.7. The right kind of involvement

All managers—from Fortune 500 executives to coaches of sports teams—are vulnerable to over-involving themselves. I think at some level they know that they are potential overhead, and compulsive involvement is one convenient (though negative) way to try and compensate for it. This partially explains the endless supply of micromanagers; the easiest move for a weak manager is to abuse her power over her subordinates (and in extreme cases, simultaneously blame the subordinates for being incompetent enough to need so much attention). The insecurities managers have stem from the fact that, in industrial revolution terms, managers are not in the line of production. They don't make things with their hands, and they are not the same kind of asset as those who do.

Managers are not hired to contribute a linear amount of work to the factory or software shop, like a worker or programmer is expected to do. Instead, leaders and managers are hired to amplify the value of everyone around them. The methods for adding this kind of value are different from working on the line. But because many managers are former programmers and were promoted into management from the line, odds are good that they have more confidence and skills at writing code than they do leading and managing people who are writing code.

Like a coach for a baseball team, the presence of a manager is supposed to contribute something different in nature from adding another individual contributor. ...

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