The mind of the Manager vs. the mind of the Engineer

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#1 Curtis Rutland  Icon User is online

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The mind of the Manager vs. the mind of the Engineer

Post icon  Posted 21 November 2011 - 10:11 AM

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http://www.yosefk.co...s-business.html

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When chased by a bear, engineers want to run faster than the bear, managers want to run faster than you. This is known as “the best vs the good enough”, and is a very common theme.


Interesting read. Backed up by a few managers I've had, but not all. Take it with a grain of salt. Even the author admits that:

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Obviously, portraying “engineers” and “managers” this way is a gross oversimplification, and most real people can look at things from both angles.


But it's still worth a read for those of you without much "real world experience."

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Replies To: The mind of the Manager vs. the mind of the Engineer

#2 codeprada  Icon User is offline

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Re: The mind of the Manager vs. the mind of the Engineer

Posted 21 November 2011 - 10:35 AM

Nice post. Haven't read it entirely but it definitely provides some useful insight in the minds of a manager and engineer.
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#3 ShawnStovall  Icon User is offline

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Re: The mind of the Manager vs. the mind of the Engineer

Posted 22 November 2011 - 12:14 AM

Good read. As someone who will be approaching the industry in a few years, I appreciate articles such as this.
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#4 smohd  Icon User is offline

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Re: The mind of the Manager vs. the mind of the Engineer

Posted 22 November 2011 - 09:34 AM

Nice post, so managers take care of the life of the company and make sure they use as less as they can, while engineers take care of the product and make sure they us as much as they can to give good product!! Two different scope between them.

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Suppose there’s a bunch of computers where people can run stuff. Some system is needed to decide who runs what, when and where. What to do?

An engineer will want to keep as many computers occupied at every moment as possible - otherwise they’re wasted.
A manager will want to give each team as few computers as absolutely necessary - otherwise they’re wasted.



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#5 kiasta  Icon User is offline

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Re: The mind of the Manager vs. the mind of the Engineer

Posted 22 November 2011 - 09:44 AM

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When chased by a bear, engineers want to run faster than the bear, managers want to run faster than you. This is known as “the best vs the good enough”, and is a very common theme.


When I drive I always tell myself to go slower than at least one other person so I am not the ass hole to get a ticket. On the highway everyone goes about 80-90 so I go about 85. As for the bear thing, well, yeah you always want to at least run faster than 1 of the guys... good luck trying to out run a bear lol.
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#6 ishkabible  Icon User is offline

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Re: The mind of the Manager vs. the mind of the Engineer

Posted 22 November 2011 - 02:16 PM

on the interstate, i just make sure to stay behind someone going as fast as me; that way they get pulled over rather than me; i also will even pass the person if the area is very open and i know there are no cops around :P
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#7 SpartanGuy07  Icon User is offline

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Re: The mind of the Manager vs. the mind of the Engineer

Posted 22 November 2011 - 02:36 PM

View Postishkabible, on 22 November 2011 - 02:16 PM, said:

on the interstate, i just make sure to stay behind someone going as fast as me; that way they get pulled over rather than me...

How would this help if the police officer is coming from behind you? He's more (or just as) likely to pull you over because you are closer.
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#8 CTphpnwb  Icon User is online

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Re: The mind of the Manager vs. the mind of the Engineer

Posted 29 November 2011 - 07:10 PM

The problem with managers and engineers is that neither of them is too concerned with what the customer wants/needs. The engineer wants to add features because he likes them. It makes no difference that the user doesn't know how to use them or even if they're there. The manager doesn't want to spend the money on the features unless he thinks they'll help with marketing the product. That's why we have so many products with bullet points on the box that few people will actually use or even want: Android is "open" and MS Office is well, bloated. How many phones had web browsers before the iPhone? And how many got used?

I think Engineers need to be managed by people from Liberal Arts and management should be an available minor for Liberal Arts majors. That seems to have worked well for Apple. :D
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#9 ishkabible  Icon User is offline

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Re: The mind of the Manager vs. the mind of the Engineer

Posted 29 November 2011 - 08:47 PM

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I think Engineers need to be managed by people from Liberal Arts


pure evil...

extern class pure_evil {
public:
    pure_evil() { throw pure_evil(); }
} this_is_evil;


This post has been edited by ishkabible: 29 November 2011 - 08:49 PM

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#10 macosxnerd101  Icon User is online

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Re: The mind of the Manager vs. the mind of the Engineer

Posted 29 November 2011 - 09:32 PM

Honestly, I have a newfound appreciation for business classes now that I've hit college. One day in engineering workshop, we were watching a video on real world ethics. At the end of the video, one of the discussion points was what should the company do- dump money to clean up the pollution or is the city at fault for imposing the regulations? Almost everyone said let's dump money into the problem regardless of the business concerns. Remember- these are engineers.

I think more often we need an technical-economist dual mindset than we do solely business/managerial or engineering. The goal should be to look at the business as a system and maximize utility for the company. Let's look at marginal gains and costs. Pulling the workstation analogy from the article, if the marginal utility of the extra workstations benefits the product as a whole more than it costs the company a workstation for another employee, then it should go to the engineers. If not, it should go to the other employee. While it's not always cut and dry, this is the mindset that everyone in the company should adopt to maximize efficiency. Especially managers and engineers.
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#11 CTphpnwb  Icon User is online

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Re: The mind of the Manager vs. the mind of the Engineer

Posted 01 December 2011 - 07:07 AM

View Postmacosxnerd101, on 30 November 2011 - 12:32 AM, said:

Honestly, I have a newfound appreciation for business classes now that I've hit college. One day in engineering workshop, we were watching a video on real world ethics. At the end of the video, one of the discussion points was what should the company do- dump money to clean up the pollution or is the city at fault for imposing the regulations? Almost everyone said let's dump money into the problem regardless of the business concerns. Remember- these are engineers.

When you have children and they make a mess do you plan on cleaning up after them or do you think that you'll expect them to clean up after themselves? Regulations don't just appear out of thin air. They're put in place because all too often management acts like a spoiled child and refuses to clean up after itself without negative consequences when they don't. The EPA for example was a response to massive amounts of pollution generated by businesses. Businesses generated so much pollution that by 1980 there was a need for a Superfund to manage a list of polluted sites. That list has shrunk due to taxpayer/government efforts, but it's still large. (Edit: If business people think that government is too inefficient to do this job they are certainly free to volunteer their services. They shouldn't expect to be paid for something they are responsible for.)

Often, if the company spent a little money up front they could have avoided an expensive mess later, but management's short-term thinking leads to an attitude that it's ok to try to pass the buck to the tax payer. They act like teenagers who think it's ok to wreck the family car and still expect to be able to drive the new one, when they didn't pay for either.

This post has been edited by CTphpnwb: 01 December 2011 - 10:16 AM

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#12 CTphpnwb  Icon User is online

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Re: The mind of the Manager vs. the mind of the Engineer

Posted 01 December 2011 - 10:22 AM

View Postishkabible, on 29 November 2011 - 11:47 PM, said:

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I think Engineers need to be managed by people from Liberal Arts


pure evil...

extern class pure_evil {
public:
    pure_evil() { throw pure_evil(); }
} this_is_evil;


How do you come to that conclusion? I'm not suggesting it as a form of punishment. I'm only recognizing that Liberal Arts majors are closer to "real" or "normal" people than either engineers or management. Liberal arts people are the ones responsible for proportional fonts, the gui, mp3s (and all other music), and most of the best things we take for granted about the web. If we left things to engineers cell phones would have web browsers but few people would use them. It was the Liberal Arts people at Apple who decided that mobile web browsers needed to be usable!
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#13 lordofduct  Icon User is offline

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Re: The mind of the Manager vs. the mind of the Engineer

Posted 02 December 2011 - 08:56 AM

I think ishkabible was being sardonic.

But I know what you mean. Engineers go for efficiency and functionality. Which are good things, but to much of that can be bad. Systems don't just function on functional logic, they have other biases as well. There is more to the world than just functional bias.

This is a nerd forum, so you should get that this is what Spock is supposed to be. A testament that cold rationality is NOT the answer to every problem, Spock joins the crew of humans on the Enterprise to learn these "irrational" emotions only to learn there IS rationality behind them, and the much good comes out of it.

We're a system of irrational beings, our existence influences the world every moment of every day, we must assume that our irrational behavior is something that must be worked with when designing methodologies. macosxnerds description of dealing with the company vs the people with who should pay... one choice over the other may be more efficient, but may also drive the opposing party to become less productive themselves. The system should not be about which benefits more efficiency wise, but which benefits both to maximize efficiency in BOTH systems... which means accomodating the irrational biases that at first glance (like Spock saw at first) was dumb and irrational... but with scrutiny makes full sense.

The worlds largest and strongest systems tend to be symbiotic in practice.

This post has been edited by lordofduct: 02 December 2011 - 08:58 AM

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#14 macosxnerd101  Icon User is online

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Re: The mind of the Manager vs. the mind of the Engineer

Posted 02 December 2011 - 09:09 AM

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Often, if the company spent a little money up front they could have avoided an expensive mess later, but management's short-term thinking leads to an attitude that it's ok to try to pass the buck to the tax payer. They act like teenagers who think it's ok to wreck the family car and still expect to be able to drive the new one, when they didn't pay for either.

The scenario looks more like this- the city offers tax breaks to encourage this company to set up production and create jobs, then adds the regulations later. I'm not saying the regulations aren't warranted nor am I defending the company for polluting. However (and this is my fault for not providing the entire scenario upfront), the city has a water filtration/cleaning system which could be upgraded as well. And isn't it the city's responsibility to maintain their water filtration infrastructure so it can handle the load? If it goes out of its way to attract industry, by the same token it needs to be able to have the infrastructure to support it. However, if the company dumped money into cleanup, their profits would dry up. And if a business isn't making profits, it's not worth operating.

There are other options to consider. Perhaps the government and company could work together to upgrade the water treatment infrastructure. They could find alternative ways to dispose of some or all of the waste, etc.

The point I was making though was that the people with the more engineering mindset were wanting to throw money at it ignoring business efficiency and concerns. I'm sure on the same token, as programmers and computer scientists, we have all had to deal with managers/business people that don't respect our concerns.
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#15 CTphpnwb  Icon User is online

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Re: The mind of the Manager vs. the mind of the Engineer

Posted 02 December 2011 - 02:36 PM

View Postmacosxnerd101, on 02 December 2011 - 12:09 PM, said:

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Often, if the company spent a little money up front they could have avoided an expensive mess later, but management's short-term thinking leads to an attitude that it's ok to try to pass the buck to the tax payer. They act like teenagers who think it's ok to wreck the family car and still expect to be able to drive the new one, when they didn't pay for either.

The scenario looks more like this- the city offers tax breaks to encourage this company to set up production and create jobs, then adds the regulations later. I'm not saying the regulations aren't warranted nor am I defending the company for polluting. However (and this is my fault for not providing the entire scenario upfront), the city has a water filtration/cleaning system which could be upgraded as well. And isn't it the city's responsibility to maintain their water filtration infrastructure so it can handle the load? If it goes out of its way to attract industry, by the same token it needs to be able to have the infrastructure to support it. However, if the company dumped money into cleanup, their profits would dry up. And if a business isn't making profits, it's not worth operating.


Isn't business supposed to be more efficient than government? Industrial waste that ends up in the sewer system shouldn't be there for two reasons. First, the system isn't and should not be designed for it. More importantly, that's material that the business needs to produce its products. It's axiomatic that good management wouldn't want to spend money on mining more of it when they could recycle it for less. So we have poor business management wasting resources and costing tax payer dollars!

I don't see how that's worthy of a tax break. I can see raising their taxes for putting extra strain on city resources. A business that's costing tax payers isn't worth keeping around. Everyone needs to make a profit for a business to be viable. That means employees and the government too, not just the business.
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