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Micromanagers are the bane of any field that requires creativity. If you haven’t experienced one then consider yourself blessed, and to everyone else, I understand your pain. I worked for one particularly awful micromanager who had a need to control every aspect of our project. We were developing a web application and had a handful of developers on the project plus a frontend designer. The manager in question had zero experience in any of these fields but had worked for a bank and believed the way they were managed there was the best way to manage everything. Needless to say it was a fiasco, with the manager demanding daily updates and organizing meaningless meetings that took valuable time away from the project at hand.

Micromanagement may be useful in some scenarios but when it came to software development it was completely counterintuitive. The idea is to improve the performance on the project because the manager is able to hold each person accountable routinely. However, the more the manager got involved the slower the work went, the lower the morale and the poorer the quality.

The reason is simple: development takes a significant amount of problem solving and creativity. Each time you interrupt a developer from their task it takes them time to sink back into it and pick up where they left off. The same goes for designers, writers and so on; they can’t just turn their skill on and off like a light switch and any attempt to change that will be met with an equal negative force. In my experience, the entire team eventually quit and the project fell apart.

I have always preferred a macromanagement approach, where the manager is involved from afar so to speak. Really it means they place a great deal of trust on the developers and work to support them, not control them. If you think about it in comparison this is the only style that makes logical sense. You spent a lot of time and money to find a talented person to do a task for you on the project, and instead of acting as if you know the best course of action, you work with them and let them take lead over their own area of expertise.

In essence, as a manager you need to view yourself as a coach, trust your players, help them grow and keep them focused on the vision without taking control of their task. Doing this will yield great results from your employees, and you will find that your employees will appreciate you more while working harder.

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I have spent the last 10 years in product and technology, before that I worked as a television producer. I love history, technology, and really geeky things.