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www.UrPercentile.com: The Topic of the Discussion is:  “Techies should to Be Managed by Techies.”

Orion: Techies, as the word goes are people who work on cutting edge technologies, build and support products used in daily life. The people who manage these techies should understand the technology & also know key details on the products. It helps a lot if a Techie manages the work done at a technical level because costing, estimation of resources, delivery forms a major part of the work .Such work is best done by a person who was in a techie's shoes at some time in his career. At a higher level, management is of key concern in order to think & set goals for the future for the company. For such positions, we need people who think out of the box, get new ideas and are able to implement them throughout the company. The top management doesn’t require a person who can get down to the technical level to solve a problem. There will be many more people below him who are more competent than him to solve technical issues.

Aabha Lalwani: Yeah I agree this helps in better understanding between people of different hierarchies and fosters better work culture. As a techie and this comes from personal experience a job of a techie can be very demanding and it is easier for a manager to understand what issues they face.

Tuhin Chaturvedi: Well, techies are the people who are technology savvy in a company. They are usually concerned only with the technical jobs or back end work associated with the company. It can be argued that only another techie can manage them as only they can comprehend the mental state and situation of their fellow techies. Only techies at a higher level in the company can sympathize with the problems faced by their subordinates at a lower level as they may have themselves faced these. However, there is a flip side to this. Techies are hired by companies not to fix peoples' problems but system problems. They may just lack the human feeling and way of dealing with people.

Nishant Sharma: Well the thought of techies being managed by the techies is very good idea, it would certainly help both the techies who is being managed & the techie who's managing because both will know what the other thinks and will know the problems faced by the other guy.

Sucheta: If a techie is a manager it is definitely advantageous because he can align his technical qualifications with his managerial skills and hence will be able to take effective decisions when it comes to manpower, projects, costs etc.

Rajesh Patra: Well. I absolutely agree that techies are the persons who do their job in an innovative way. But they don’t need to be guided by a techie. If that is the case then the world still would have been in the nomadic era, hunting animals. Without the support of any techies they build wheel, and so the progress continued. And further let us take the example of Late Dhiru Bhai Ambani. He was a matriculate and he managed an empire of $100 bn by 1995 without any technical experience.

Tuhin Chaturvedi: I think in many companies the people who were techies at one time and are now managers are given the job of managing techies. This is a very good way of handling such a dichotomy of employees wherein some are technical people wholly while others' are managers.

Orion: It would be just to say that micromanagement at the top of the hierarchy can be done by MBAs , but people with prior experience will be a better proposition in for roles which requires management at lower levels.

Nishant Sharma: Now once the techie is in the managerial position he can actually understand what the other person is going through. He'll know the nuances of the technique and will also know how to apply his managerial skills in solving the problem faced by the other person.

Likhojyotiko: It is definitely easy to monitor a job whose intricacies are best known to you. But there is a catch here there is definitely a difference between the qualities desired of a techie and a manager. The techie on one hand needs to be technically efficient whereas the manager is expected to have certain other qualities like motivating, financial analysis etc.  Hence, techies without all these qualities can not make good managers

Antony Thomas: Management requires thorough and in depth knowledge about what is being managed. Techies are required to do jobs that can only be done with certain acquired skills. To manage and regulate these people and their activities definitely calls for a person who is similarly skilled and trained. If not, it could create a lot of misunderstanding among the workers and management and can even be a bane for the company as a whole.

Sucheta: Since the techie manager has worked in the filed for a while it is surely advantageous to him because he will best understand the issues faced by techies while doing there work and management is all about how you manage the people and resources under you. So an in-depth knowledge of the technical aspect of the techie’s job will help the manager to allocate manpower, resources and finances appropriately. He will be in a position to determine, what can be the output obtained from the people.

Saurav : It also depends upon the type of Job  a finance techies need to have a finance manager who understands different jargon involved in finance. But at top level the manager has to have knowledge in different fields from finance to legal process, from social responsibility to political aspect.

Orion: Influencing business decisions & setting goals for the company at higher levels need to be done by visionaries who are adept at management.

N Khurana: I dont agree with the fact that only techies should be managed by techies, just because they have a domain knowledge that does not mean they are good at managing people in that domain like a good student cannot bee always a good teacher.

Nishant Sharma: The person who's well a versed with both the technical and managerial knowledge will definite have an edge over the rest.

Saurav: How about "Out of Box" thinking? Techies will get to know about the other side of coin when they will be managed by non-techies manager. The non-techies-manager can give all together different solution which can not be seen by Techies-manager, who faces similar problem daily and manages a monotonous job.

Likhojyotiko: And if they are going for a management degree than they are definitely making one person lose his career because of this reason only the government is looking forward not to allow the IITians to take up management courses. I agree with Sourav, that's exactly why an independent test and advice is always preferred.

Rajesh Patra: There are many examples of B.Ed teachers guiding pupils and on the long term the same pupil turn out to be an Engineer, a Scientist, a Politician, a s/w engineers, a businessman.

Tuhin Chaturvedi: The top management of a company is usually involved in making strategy, dealing with the market upheavals and synergy creation. Hence, they tend to lose touch with the technical side of the company notwithstanding the fact that they too may have been techies at one point of time. Thus a lower level manager who has good managerial capacity as well as a continual touch with tech related troubles can be appointed.

Sucheta: Being in the technical field also requires out of the box thinking if one is to develop the programs and products. So it would be wrong to say that a techie manager would be incapable of that.

Saurav : If we see the facts favoring the topic - How will a non-technical Manager will be able to set the timeline for any work?
Up to what extent the manager will be able understand the requirement?
How will the non-techies manager able to understand the problem faced by techies during execution of work.

Nishant Sharma: Although it’s not always true that a techie will be a better manager than a non techie but he'll definitely have an edge. So all the top firms like Infosys, Satyam, Wipro have one of their Executives belonging to a technical background.

Orion: Likhojyotiko,  I feel that it is not right to generalize that IITians should not enter management schools as learning management skills will not make a person lose his technical skills , secondly we have able managers who have come out of an IIT + IIM background.

Antony Thomas: Nitin, but you will agree with me when I say that a person with no prior experience in a technical field can never be appointed to manage a technical group as this could wreak havoc. Just because a person has a good management aptitude does not mean he can handle situations that require technical skills and complicated jargons.

N Khurana: Moreover their task of managing people is more of concerned on the person, how he thinks, what is his approach towards various issue, I must say that management does not include only IQ but up to an extent EQ also, but as per some experiences it has been observed that those who are hard had there work expect the same from other, which does not solve the purpose of being a good manager and not even a techie.

Saurav : But at the same time - Mukesh Ambani does not need to know how the crude oil is refined but he has to understand how much profit is it going to give the company. So we need give proper consideration to both the scenario.

Likhojyotiko: Orion, I know there are many cases like that. I just want to point out that this is what the government is thinking about to implement so that we can have more techies as well as managers.

Aabha Lalwani: Yeah but then also it takes a vision of Narayan Murty to make a world class IT services provider company. And also no offense but Mukesh Ambani will also have technical people as managers.

Nishant Sharma: Mukesh Ambani doesn't have to know the nuances of oil refinery because the people who work for him do all the thinking and some of them are either an Engineer or belong to technical background.

Orion: Even if a person is having good management skills he needs to work at the grassroots level & get to know some technical details on the processes followed. Management education opens a lot of avenues for people with prior technical experience. This will give them an edge over just technical managers.

Sucheta: It is not so that non techie cannot handle managers but a techie manager would have an edge over the non techie managers when it comes to sitting deadlines for projects, content of projects, choosing the right people for the job, allocating finances for the project. He will be able to relate to the people working under them better. The techie will bring knowledge of field work with him while non techie manger will have to learn on the job.

Tuhin Chaturvedi: The question of managing people in a company is the domain of people who have human resources skills. This may not necessarily be an MBA as trade unions in companies are not always MBAs but representatives chosen to address grievances of their fellow workers. As far as managing projects is concerned, a technical person may be preferred as many of my friends opine as he has a better understanding of timelines and resources involved.

Nishant Sharma: A techie manger will know what can be the grass root problems whereas a non techie will need someone to support him, inform him, guide him through the whole process of finding the problem to solving the problem,

Likhojyotiko: I want to point out here that management is not about working everything on owns own its about team work so for technical issues he can always consult his team and also, involving the team in the mgmt activities will make them feel more responsible and motivated.

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Sucheta: Mukesh Ambani is at the top of the pyramid. He has plenty of people under him to advise him on the mode of action to be taken. Many of them may be from the technical field.

Orion: Most of the entrepreneurs were people with technical background when they started & eventually moved on to management roles. This means that being technically competent can serve you better.

Antony Thomas: It is always a risk to enter a field and playing it without doing some home work.
Whether its investing or real estate or management, one has to have a good knowledge about what he is getting himself into other wise the repercussions could be many. A non techie being assigned to manage techies is a lot like the above stated scenario.

N Khurana: I agree to the fact that yes a techie to have an edge over the other but at that same time it is just the matter of experience and nothing else, but don’t you all think that a techie manager might be some one with good amount of experience and huge amount of knowledge might except the same, in terms of value, which might prevent him to work as a team and ultimately that EQ factor get effected

Aabha Lalwani: When we consider of management we don’t only have to see the how he will manage, what’s also important is the reaction of the people he will manage. A manager with a technical background will command more respect amongst his team as he has the backing of experience behind whatever goals he has set for the team, whereas a non technical guys claims may not evoke the same response from his team.

Sucheta: Yes exactly as I said before that being a techie will enable the manger to relate with his team better and if the team dynamics are good then chances of getting the job done well are quite high.

Orion: A person who is technically competent will do justice in a management role since he understands the difficulties his subordinates are facing in a better way

Rajesh Patra: I don’t agree with Orion, because I have already stated examples of Dhiru Bhai Ambani and there are many more who were college drop out, like Bharat & Vijay Shah - Indian diamond merchants who have name & fame in the world market.

Aabha Lalwani: Well he has management degree to take care of the EQ factor, just because he is technical does not mean that he will only have high IQ

Tuhin Chaturvedi: Being technically oriented can serve one better only when one is in touch with technical fields, I think, Mr.Orion. In Infosys, Mr.Murthy is no longer expected to address the problems of people who find software projects taxing. He is expected to espouse a vision which will keep Infosys ahead of the pack. The question of managing people here does not come in because as one of my friends here mentioned, the journey from the top to the bottom of the hierarchy may take too long, leaving the employee disgruntled. Hence, it may be advisable to have a technical manager.

Nishant Sharma: Any techie will be better off solving a problem related to his field but when is installed with power from which he can actually make a difference to the company by not just working under somebody but actually working from a position where he dictates the terms.

Antony Thomas: I will second Aabha, a manager is much more respected if he is one among his subordinates rather than a person who is less wise than them in their field and hence subject to back bites and sneers.

Orion: Rajesh, we know that there were people like Ambanis & Bill gates but how many Ambanis have we seen as of today? They were great visionaries who achieved a lot with their vision & leadership skills. What we are talking today is about professional management of a department or a company. We won’t get a person like Ambani each time.

N Khurana: But this is performance oriented in the world if you do well in your job performance you stay , even a degree  from some of good b school , college cannot help , and more over there are very few people who try to emotionally connect with there employees and rather they focus on targets to be achieved and results in his terms are expected

Aabha Lalwani: Yes Nitin but wouldn’t that be more applicable in case of a technical manager

Tuhin Chaturvedi: I don' think what Mr.Antony is saying is always true. If you look at Sam Walton, even when he was CEO of Walmart in the 70s, he would still accompany his retailer managers when they went to buy commodities and would spend a few days with them getting in touch. However, all the decisions and choices he made with them were excellently placed. His still fresh domain knowledge made him respected even with the lower end retail mangers.

Sucheta: Exceptions to the rule always arise as stated in case of Ambani and the likes but in most cases that is not the case. We are discussing such scenarios and how a techie manger can maximize the output from his subordinates at the same time maintaining cordial relations with them.

Likhojyotiko: Orion, does that mean that world is decreasing in the talents? I beg to differ why cannot be there any more Ambani's and Murthy. Yes, surely if keep restricting ourselves to such views there will definitely be no like personalities in near future

Orion: Tuhinchaturvedi, I agree that Narayanamurthy doesn’t look into technical issues, but when the company was in its inception, he was capable of working & contributing to the company technically. As and when the company grew, he didn’t have to use technical skills, but he has those skills in his armory & can start off again if required

N Khurana: I agree that  a techie could add value and a nice dimension to his job but , even a non techie can do equally well it is just the matter of giving some extra effort on job , in the form of training , so as to be equally challenging and competent

Nishant Sharma: The point is not about the exceptions when it comes to decide that’ll be better off then the majority will support the manager who has technical knowledge. So I think a techie as a manger is a far better option than a manger who is non techie.

Orion: Likhojyotiko, the world can churn out many more Ambanis with all probability but can you guess or tell for sure who the next one is?

Rajesh Patra: Yes, I do agree Mr. Orion, but not only guidance by techie makes a better techie. What we need for a good techie is the urge, desire and the dream, like the great visionaries had dreamt. Or else even after guidance from better techies one cant progress. I would like to quote Pres APJ Kalam's statement from the Wings of Fire "A good student can extract more from a bad teacher than a bad student from a good teacher."

www.UrPercentile.com: Request everyone to give a concluding Statement.

Sucheta: From the discussion, it can be borne that most of us agree that a techie manger will have greater insights into the working of his subordinates, he will relate better with them and command more respect since they will know that he has risen through the ranks and proved himself. Also he will have knowledge of the pressures faced by the employees while meeting deadlines and the finances to be allocate. All these will definitely put him in a bracket above a non techie manager.

Orion: This was an enlightening discussion where we discussed who is more competent to fit into a managerial role to manage techies, Techies can be suitable at lower levels but qualified management professionals are required at higher levels to manage the helm of affairs & lend direction to the company

Likhojyotiko: As per our discussion, techie managers have an edge over non-techie stuff, but there are many examples where even the non-techies have performed well and making a techie a manager means losing a techie

Antony Thomas: As far as management is concerned it is all about increasing company profits through various techniques. A good manager is one who knows his field and can feel his subordinates and their problems. Techies require a techie as their leader because only he can fully understand and comprehend their duties and problems and offer guidance and motivation. At the end of the day, it is the manager who decides where the company is headed.

Rajesh Patra: Finally I would like to say that techies are better. But to achieve the result the learner techie has to be sincere and hard working

N Khurana: I would say being a techie is not an advantage or an edge in any terms  though it provide an early start , even a non techie can manage people equally well as the techie might do it  just the matter of getting some experience and so main knowledge , more what is more important is the EQ factor which make people work and provide them job satisfaction which cannot be learn

Orion: Likhojyotiko:  By becoming a manager, a techie will still remember his technical skills & can unleash them when required.

Aabha Lalwani: For managing a technical team a manager with a technical background will be able to understand his team coming from the same background however another argument is that a non technical guy if he is high on EQ, willing to learn the trade can make a good manager. At the end of the day its about making profits and keeping the subordinates happy.

Nishant Sharma: To wrap it up what I think and believe being from a technical background that a Manger with a technical knowledge will be a better prospect than a non technical person.

Comments by Urpercentile Subscribers:

Amiyesh Verma : There are basically two level of management in any of the companies: Senior level and Medium level.
Medium layer manager will surely add value if they have technical background as they need to get job done within stipulated timelines after facing lot many challenges and In this scenario It will be an edge to have technological background to handle project while looking closely risk elements,Success factor,technical intricacies,timelines and meeting deadlines.
Top Management need not to have technical background as their skill needs to be utilized to drive the business.They should play role of visionary to expand horizon of business rather than thinking about technical stuff.

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