Managing When Ignorant

If you manage a technical project you are often working with people who are doing work that you are unable to evaluate until it is finished. Consider managing a restaurant. You can observe the wait staff and taste the food. You will have a pretty good idea whether the people are getting their jobs done or not.  But if you are working with a technical person on a spreadsheet or a website, you often have no idea if they are good at their job. Programming shares this characteristic with many other technical fields.

Bill Gates handles this one way, in this memoir by one of the Excel software engineers:

http://www.joelonsoftware.com/items/2006/06/16.html

The U.S. government handled it differently in the design of the Obamacare website.

http://www.slate.com/articles/technology/bitwise/2013/10/healthcare_gov_problems_house_committee_hearing_is_a_spectacle_of_tech_illiteracy.html

Its easy to conclude that Bill Gates’s management is better after reading these articles but problems remain. He can’t know about everything that Microsoft does. And what happens when he retires?

Read the two linked articles. Write a paragraph or two on how you would manage a small tech project. By manage, I mean someone else would be doing the work, and you would be paying them for their tech skills. Make sure you refer to the articles you read. Comment on 2 or 3 other people’s essays.