"Instead of spending 2 hrs a day on lab paperwork, I can spend that time turning out more tests."

—Stephen Graves—
Sr Tech, Rock Engineering and Testing San Antonio

Watching a great manager at work

By Eric J. Ray

It's fun watching a great manager at work. From the first time we met, I knew this manager was out of the ordinary. Why? Well, when we first met, I'd really only expected that he'd have time for a perfunctory meeting, but we actually talked for nearly 2 hours. I surveyed the books on his bookshelf, and they were nearly all good management books (as opposed to the more dated or subject-specific volumes I expected). I've now known this manager for nearly 2 years, and I continue to be impressed. I see him in the hall, greeting his directs by name--and greeting people far removed from him, but still in his organization, by name as well. He knows what people like, what motivates them, and what their issues are, and his behavior reflects it.

Far more important, though, is how the overall organization reflects this manager's priorities and values. It's an organization where (it appears) that everyone really cares about all of their peers as well as the rest of the organization. It's a place where visitors are courteously greeted at the door, and welcomed into the building. It's a place where a minor concern or question is treated with respect and sincerity, and where other people from this manager's network are brought in to help drive resolution to the issues.

Moreover, the results are demonstrably excellent. Customers are happy, stakeholders are satisfied, and deliverables exceed expectations. What more could anyone ask?

I had really never expected to see this kind of an organization outside of a hypothetical case study, or possibly some apocryphal story, let alone where I'd get to interact with it on a regular basis. For a lot of reasons, I'm gratified that Frank is as good as he is, and that he helps my son's elementary school be someplace special.

Thanks, Frank!

Editor's Note —
I think we would all like to have managers above and below us that are like this. Heck, maybe even WE should try to be like Frank. Nice little story from one of my colleagues that I met at a Business of Software Convention.