Daily Archives: February 13, 2012

Management is not the “big brain”

This is an excellent post that I saw via a mention from Ben Kamens of Khan Academy on twitter. The blog post is written by Joel Spolsky. It is a great post. The following snippet nicely summarizes the essence:

The “management team” isn’t the “decision making” team. It’s a support function. You may want to call them administration instead of management, which will keep them from getting too big for their britches.

Administrators aren’t supposed to make the hard decisions. They don’t know enough. All those super genius computer scientists that you had to recruit from MIT at great expense are supposed to make the hard decisions. That’s why you’re paying them. Administrators exist to move the furniture around so that the people at the top of the tree can make the hard decisions.


I would add my own corollary to this: It is the job of management to find the funding and create the environment where creativity can happen and then help the creativity happen. Just because someone is great with powerpoint and can get the funding – it does not mean they are the smartest person on the team and it does not mean that the PowerPoint jockey gets final say over product design decisions.

Smart projects with innovation as a goal, keep the creative engine as independent as practical from the money engine. At the same time, those in management can contribute to the creative processes in an organization if they do as as a peer rather then the boss.

This is a bit of personal pain for me because my demise as the Executive Director of the Sakai Foundation was because of management-types feeling and asserting their “power” over a product simply because there were management.

… “With great PowerPoint comes great responsibility”