Balancing Technical Skills as a Manager

OK, I’m glad I am not the only one who thinks the best technical managers keep their technical skills sharp. This article is mostly anecdotal, the only real practical advice she provides is about “time slicing”. This just seems to be a fancy way of describing serial single tasking. I think it might have warranted some clearer explanation of how the act of prioritizing fits into the process of “slicing” different tasks.

Among her anecdotal points, I think the one about being able to assess root causes is very well made. How much news about flubbed security implementations and technical policies boil down to a disconnect in management, a fundamentally failure to grok the technical implications?

I would add, from my own experience, that your technical skills can also be an asset to your resources. Quite a bit, recently, I’ve had questions come up that would have baffled a manager without any technical expertise. With my own skills, I was able to ask good questions that helped my folks arrive at their own answers or make some general suggestions that broke them out of ruts when dealing with a problem. I didn’t have to have specific knowledge of their particular work, but have some general knowledge about tools and technology relevant to them, I was able to add some useful input that yielded concrete results.

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