Like Your Mother, I appreciate a technically competent manager.
While general management skills trump technical
competence for high level managers, lower level managers
of programmers at the coalface do require technical skills IMHO.
At least, that's been my experience.
Let me give an example to clarify.
I remember one particular "delivery focused" programmer with a "strong
sense of urgency". Rather than taking the time to properly abstract the
design, he crudely cut n pasted 30 new classes from an existing one.
Now these 30 classes were all identical, except for one line of code.
Of course his code never contained any useful comments because these take time.
This fellow consistently left behind huge swathes of unmaintainable code,
yet his non-technical manager -- who never looked at the code -- praised
him and even gave him bonuses and little plaques for his "strong sense of urgency"
and "can do" attitude.
You might argue that a better non-technical manager, one who understood
would not do this (and I agree), yet non-technical managers must rely on others
to judge the technical merit of the work produced by their staff.
And in a political, non-trusting organisational culture, that results in
people playing silly games (e.g. if you tell my non-technical manager that
my work is of high quality, I'll return the favour to you).
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