Monday, December 21, 2009

What is the role of a Data Manager

As a companion to my blog "Must I become a manager?", I thought I would pass on Steven Feuerstein's thoughts on "what are [data managers] good for?".  Once again, I have replaced reference to developers with data-related terms (enclosed in []).

These are goals, I feel, of a good technical lead, too, but as a technical lead, we may not have much direct control of all of the items Steven lists.  His words:
I have been thinking about this lately: what are [Data Managers (DMs)] good for? What should they do, and do for us, "lowly" [data specialists]?
I will write on this more fully in 2010 on my ToadWorld blog, but I thought I would close out the year with a few quick thoughts you might appreciate:
  1. The whole point of a [data] manager is to help [data specialists] get their jobs done. In other words, "it's the code [deliverables], stupid."
  2. The most important thing a DM can do is shield [data specialists] from time pressures. Of course, there are unrealistic deadlines with which to contend. But you won't get better [deliverables] from [data specialists] by pushing them to finish sooner. You will just get buggier software  [poorer deliverables].
  3. [Data specialists] should get the offices or cubicles with more space, lots of windows, sunlight, etc. They are creating things and solving problems. They need the physical space to inspire them.
  4. Status meetings are for the most part expressions of power by DMs. The message is "my time is more important than your time." Cancel the status meetings, DMs! Instead, meet with each [data specialist] and get their status directly from them.
  5. The most important question a DM can ask a [data specialist] is "How can I help you get your job done more effectively?" 


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