Sunday, November 13, 2005

Decisions

Imagine that you are a CEO of a company and you have to make a decision on selecting one of the following teams. Which team will select and why?(Please leave ur answer as a comment)


Team 1: Has a good manager and has below average developers.


Team 2: Has good developers and a below average manager.


15 comments:

Anonymous said...

Team 2.

Anonymous said...

Team 2, no brainer

Tom Fakes said...

Depends on the size of the team:

5 developers - Team 2
50 developers - Team 1

Although a team of only 5 developers needs a lead, not a manager. The term manager to me implies this person does no dev work, and this implies a bigger team.

Igor said...

- Project manager is much more important in the first part of a project. To establish good relations with the customer, to mobilize the team and so on.

- The quality of developers of a team becomes more important in the second part of the project when an actual working product should be demonstrated.

So, if I am CEO of a company, I will definitely pick the team with very good PM. I will need good results this quarter, not in the next year.

Anonymous said...

If I was the CEO, I wouldn't choose either. I'd find some people who were above average.

Jayanthan said...

The question is too simplistic. But I would go the other way. I would choose above average developers in whichever scenario. But then again it depends how below average the manager is. Its easier to replace one manager than fifty developers right?

The question itself presents a more difficult problem. Why do CEOs put up with mediocrity? Why does anyone put up with mediocrity? And I mean mediocrity in a different sense. It doesn't mean mark everyone on a bell curve and identify the bottom half. It means create a sense of improvement within teams so that as a group they progress to an extent where there is fulfillment. The team has to always be stronger as a whole.

In IT the reason we put up with it is perhaps its so damn difficult when it comes to people. If we were in a less people-intensive industry like tulip farming, say, we wouldn't need to worry so much.

Anonymous said...

It depends on whether the manager is actively bad or passively bad.

Siva Jagadeesan said...

Jayanthan great answer

Kiran said...

I would say Team 1.
If a Bad manager leads the team even if the developers r best of the lot they lose morale/interest when they work under a Bad manager and dont feel like contributing effectively. So after some time the whole crop of these best developers become avg and the project suffers. I have seen and experienced this myself!!! All along not to mention the conflicts that rises between all these best developers that may/may not have been caused by the bad manager which will be too difficult to handle(with all the best people with high egos) and the project starts to suffer!!

on the other hand if u have a good lead/manager the avg developers will always have something higher to aim for and they take active interest in doing it and learning from it.

Any day i would prefer avg developers and a good leader so that all the avg developers will have challenges to look for and if not all 100% then atleast 50% of the developers will become good by the time the project even goes to the mid development stage..

Daragh said...

Team 2, you can always find ONE new manager :-)

Garrett Smith said...

Neither; it's a false dichotomy. You should have a team with excellent developers AND manager.

Anonymous said...

Team 2, afterall, you can't find a really good manager. It is a very rare commodity.

Anonymous said...

It depends on methodolgy.

In an Agile self organizing environment then 2.

Anonymous said...

Great question Siva - here's one possible scenario from the CEO's perspective...

If I (as CEO) wanted a whole bunch of work done well in a relatively short period of time (e.g., <= 6 months), then I'd choose Team 1 as they'd probably be productive for long enough to meet this goal. Afterwards, I suspect the team would disband, some may quit, etc. Ironically, the PM would probably get a promotion. Call this the Churn n'Burn approach.

OTOH, if I was looking to build a strong team for work over a prolonged period of time, I would choose Team 2. It may be my development bias, but I always feel as though a strong development team has a better chance to make a poor PM better than the reverse situation. Call this the Softly Softly approach.

Anonymous said...

It depends on how the CEO is,
- Average he will go with Team 1
- Above Average he will go with Team 2