I have a very simple theory about what senior managers need to do. There job is to convert potential into profitability through internal and external interaction.
And that means specifically managing 8 Ps described below. Call it "Sachin Joshi Model of Management" if you wish.
Discussion is more relevant to executives and other senior managers who in my vocabulary are called "business owners".
1. Profitability : The reality is that businesses need to keep themselves profitable which means managers must take right financial decisions. At minimum it means managers must be financially literate. Beyond budgeting and forecasting there are many decisions that require using finance/accounting tools. Selecting the right project size and team size. Pricing the products. Making buy vs build vs rent decisions. One of the most useful concepts are Minimum Marketable Feature and idea of Real Options.
2. Positioning : Nothing is so critical than finding the right fit to market and positioning the products in a market place. Nothing succeeds like an idea whose time has come. Your talent as a manager is in finding that right idea. The entire process of dividing the markets in right segments, selecting the right customers and solving right set of problems for them is all what I call "positioning". It requires making right decisions all the time. And that doesn't happen without instituting the customer focus. Customer focus is not some magic thing you do but a value system and tool that results in a well defined procedure for "positioning" your service.
3. Partnerships: No business works in isolation. So yet another job is to manage partnerships with vendors and clients.
4. Programs: Many managers make mistake of thinking that what they are delivering is product or a project. But in reality what they are doing is managing series of projects and set of products which requires Program Management. Defining and managing program objectives is a top item in job description of senior manager. A successful manager must be able to map strategy into programs and then translate the vision in terms of program objectives. (I plan to write a blog about mapping strategy into program objectives.)
5. Process : No software gets built without proper process in place. One of the important jobs of manager is to define process and actively manage it. There is a large body of knowledge dedicated to project management and process improvements. Wisdom and drive in applying these principals to increase quality is what managers demonstrate everyday.
6. Policy: Make sure that technical standards are defined and followed. Rather than actually making each and every decision themselves senior managers define policy. To me policy is framework in which those decisions are made. One of the most important job of managers is to define that framework and provide guidance in applying it to everyday decisions.
7. People: The generative power of business comes from the talent and creativity of its people. And no where is this more important than in software. Success in providing the environment where people can grow is how we must measure our progress
8. Productivity : Equally important is increasing our production capability or "Productivity". Smart tools turn smart people into even smarter geniuses.
by Sachin Joshi
For Washington Technical Resources