Management

Discussion in 'Off-Topic' started by Dave, Nov 29, 2007.

  1. Dave

    Thread Starter Retired Moderator

    Nov 17, 2003
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    For the last 6 weeks I have been enduring a series of Management Training courses on various subjects such as Quality Management, New Product Innovation, Logistics and Supply and a host of other trivial topics. These courses have disrupted my working schedule so much that I haven't done anything on my normal job for the last 4 weeks - the most work conscious of us like a break now and again but 4 weeks is a joke.

    Anyway, I thought I would ask other tech-minded individuals what they think about Management training and courses.

    To me, they are pointless, trivial, mind-numbing, nonsensical, theoretical garbage. I also get annoyed when I see these allegedly skilled people taking home considerably more money than the engineers and scientists who create the very product that keeps these individuals in a job and the easy life.

    Am I missing something?

    Dave
     
  2. eeboy

    Active Member

    Sep 27, 2007
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    I also feel your pain. I spent 7 years working for a company that would repeatedly turn down requests for technical training yet would force other training like project management... or CPR. The ratio of technical to non-technical training had to exceed 100 to 1 (hours).

    It makes no sense to me...
     
  3. recca02

    Senior Member

    Apr 2, 2007
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    exactly! :D
    something i wanted to bring out in my economics thread too!
     
  4. Papabravo

    Expert

    Feb 24, 2006
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    I think you're safe unless you start to grow "hair horns"
     
  5. beenthere

    Retired Moderator

    Apr 20, 2004
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    Workers arise! You have only to lose your masters!

    The game is rigged - look at the French Revolution - it wasn't too long before the former nobility was back in charge. Why someone who is only skilled on a golf course can take home zillions because of work others do is a bit amazing.
     
  6. Dave

    Thread Starter Retired Moderator

    Nov 17, 2003
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    I glad to know I am not alone in my suffering - and yes I mean that!

    The neglection of technical training at the expense of management and "transferable-skills" training is another farce, thankfully I organise the technical courses and training sessions for our group of engineers and I make sure that if they give me £3000 I spend £3000.

    Oh yeah, I remember that one. Economics is a strange one because some of the theory does translate into tangible concepts, i.e. interest rates etc. It's still 90% garbage but still, credit where credit is due.

    It's the increased drinking that's bothering me!!

    In recent weeks I have noticed two bumps developing on my head - does that count! :p

    When you put it that way, and then say it back it is absurd. Imagine what intelligent beings from another planet would think if we told them this - I hazard a guess they'd up stick and radio home "no intelligent life there!"

    I am also amused how management courses are now called "Management Sciences" - yes science, alongside physics, chemistry and engineering! You're having a laugh aren't you!

    Dave
     
  7. beenthere

    Retired Moderator

    Apr 20, 2004
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    As the Martians said: "Hak iklak!" This is from some old story from the 1920's - hak meaning 'not', and iklak meaning 'having a useful level of intelligence'.

    Is Management Science related to Sanitary Engineering?
     
  8. recca02

    Senior Member

    Apr 2, 2007
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    True, some of those theories make sense,
    actually it was the management part that made me hate it so much,
    u might remember me talking something about how these management ppl fool the people with their silly theories and then we are the ones who have to go thru them.
     
  9. thingmaker3

    Retired Moderator

    May 16, 2005
    5,072
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    Best management training I ever had (the only good management training I ever had) was a series of five or six half-hour impromptu sessions after work with an ex-trainer of drill sergeants. (He wasn't just a drill sergeant, he trained other drill sergeants.)

    Try a couple of these:

    Maximize the productivity of a meeting by removing all chairs from the room just prior to convening.

    Pair the slowest guy up with the fastest guy. Tell the fastest guy to "drag the slow guy by the hair if need be."

    Always look for solutions, never for fault or for blame.

    Focus on the goal, not the obstacles. If someone else insists on focusing on the obstacles, grab them by the throat and rub their nose in the goal.

    Always reward innovation and productivity publicly and materially. The underachievers will fall over themselves trying to cash in on the free barbecue sauce, spiffy new screwdriver, or whatever trinket got passed out with such fanfare.

    When dealing with an idiot who's wasting your time, but is outside your hierarchy, look at your watch and say "oh spit! Can I get back to you on this? Crap, I gotta go!" Then go back to doing your job.

    Never ask "can we" or "will you." Always ask "what would it take to" or "what do you need in order to."
     
  10. Dave

    Thread Starter Retired Moderator

    Nov 17, 2003
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    :D Yes, it is the same subject with different names! I will remember the "Hak iklak!" and see if I can get it into my final session today. Don't worry I have two more courses in the new year where I can try it (oh lucky me!)

    Yes indeed, that is exactly how I feel right now. If I see one more 2x2 matrix and get told to concentrate on it because its "complex", I will scream. Working in imaging I often use 3-dimensional matrices with upwards of 100s-of-millions of elements, I think I can cope with a 2x2 matrix. What I can't cope with is the 2-hour verbose diatribe that supplements the matrix!

    Strange you say that because I attended a course in Kirkby Lonsdale on Leadership (I still have no idea what it "theoretically" means but I know a leader when I see one), anyway that course was run by an ex-sergeant in the army. He was a good laugh which softened the blow.

    I do that and no-one finds it funny!! :D

    I'm not sure if I'd get paired with the fastest or slowest guy!

    Its difficult when you get told, "Don't give me your problems, give me your solutions." I've got a better idea, you find the solution and I'll tell you if it helps me!

    But as engineers, our job is to focus on the obstacles. It's all very well saying this when your a boss sat in his ivory tower.

    Definitely. I once got a spatula through a reward scheme at work. I took voluntary redundancy 5 months later!

    I might do that today. Actually it best if I save it till next year so I get out of several days of torture.

    Isn't the stock answer for that, "its for you to find out."

    Can't you tell how much I love it! :D

    Dave
     
  11. Salgat

    Active Member

    Dec 23, 2006
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    This thread is rather depressing:confused:
     
  12. Dave

    Thread Starter Retired Moderator

    Nov 17, 2003
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    Ahh, so you have had management training too?!

    Seriously, I am asking have I missed the point of taking copious amounts of management drivel as part of my career "development"? I think it is fluffy nonsense - please explain to me otherwise, I really want to cut down on my coffee intake at these things.

    Dave
     
  13. GS3

    Senior Member

    Sep 21, 2007
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    Yes, I think you are missing something because you are looking at it from the wrong angle. You can look at it from this angle: those "allegedly skilled people" are actually providing a service of value (at least perceived value) to those who buy their services.

    Now, the value of things is highly subjective. People pay millions for things which I find worthless but that does not mean they are objectively worthless. As long as people are freeling willing to part with their money in exchange for those things then those things, by definition, have value.

    Furthermore, many engineers and scientists would be out of a job were it not for entrepreneurs, capitalists, salespeople and a host of others who collectively create the need for engineers and scientists. All jobs complement each other.
     
  14. GS3

    Senior Member

    Sep 21, 2007
    408
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    Then the guy who is to blame will be grateful and can screw up again. And again. And again. I prefer assigning blame (preferably in private) as well as praise (preferably in public).

    This is exactly what he did and it worked really well for G.W. Bush in Iraq. I say ignore the obstacles at your peril. On the contrary, be prepared for every possible obstacle. Be doubly prepared for every possible obstacle, even the most unlikely.

    Other than that there is some wisdom to be found in those quotes.
     
  15. Dave

    Thread Starter Retired Moderator

    Nov 17, 2003
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    I suppose there is some perceived value, however that value is often superficial. In the UK we have major problems with engineering organisations being run by accountants. Such a situation would be unthinkable in Germany or Japan (arguably two of the strongest engineering economies in the world). It is my experience that most of the "real" management is done by the engineers themselves and their is an accountant at the top who IMO is nothing more than a glorified administrator.

    I can see this argument. Do you think there is a difference in looking at the value-chain internal to an organisation (i.e. engineers to managers), as oppose to the value-chain external to an organisation (i.e. product/service to customer)?

    (I really have the jargon don't I! :D)

    I see entrepreneurs in a different light. Indeed many of the greatest entrepreneurs have absolutely no formal management training; however some bright spark thinks that you can teach this gibberish. My point is that management is not so much something you have - managers should be leaders, can you learn this?

    Dave
     
  16. Salgat

    Active Member

    Dec 23, 2006
    215
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    Haha, my professor has warned me on multiple occasions about what your going through.
     
  17. GS3

    Senior Member

    Sep 21, 2007
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    I do agree that there is a lot of empty fluff being sold out there which I would not buy but if whoever is buying it likes it then who am I to complain? That is my point.

    I think you have a very idealized and simplified view of things in those countries. A successful organization manages to sell products people will buy and make a profit in the process. Engineers should not be running the show, they should be carrying out the goals set by higher management. With minor differences I believe that is true in any major organization.

    I see no "internal" vs. "external" dichotomy. The organization pays money to outsiders to supply goods or services. In that sense the supply is always "external". If the organization no longer feels it is worth their money they will stop buying those services or fire the employee.
    Some people are more gifted than others but you can always learn things you are not naturally gifted for. I dare say in that case you have more of a need to learn.
     
  18. David Bridgen

    Senior Member

    Feb 10, 2005
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    0
    Managers are born, not made in daft courses.

    We see precisely the same phenomena in government, central and local, and in industry. Little people trying, oh so inadequately, to do big jobs, bigots and bullies, non-specialists in specialist positions and often trying to baffle brains with their bullshit.

    It is these incompetents who have brought this country down and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future.

    I was a manager for a few years. A technical manager. I didn't apply for the position. It was a new one and I was selected because I was good at my job as an engineer.

    Subsequently, after redundancy (work that one out), I was reduced to a technical labourer on a test bench.

    The following is a letter I put on the noticeboard of the company which was luck enough to have me working for them:


    To whom it may concern.

    The nature of the DMC document "Performance and Development Review" is totally inappropriate for the people who carry out the technical work in the Calibration Division, (the people who are the backbone of that Division.)

    It mentions "performance targets", "objectives", "personal development", a lovely combination of the two previous ones - "personal development objectives" and "financial/business targets in relation to the budget", all of which is redolent of the claptrap so beloved of "management" and marketing people and none of which has any place or validity in this engineering environment.

    None of the "engineers" in DMC Camberley has any career prospects. Anyone who thinks differently is deluded.

    The whole exercise demonstrates blind adherence to some silly administrative fad and is a waste of time and money.

    R.I.P.G.B.
     
  19. chesart1

    Senior Member

    Jan 23, 2006
    269
    1

    I've seen those items on my performance and development reviews. As a embedded systems software engineer, I had to give an estimate of the time required to complete a specified design. I also had to explain and justify my software design. Personal development usually included seminars and courses I planned to attend and future projects the manager wanted me to participate in. Objectives were an impractical dream land. The examples of objectives were beyond reality. Marketing is not always beyond the scope of engineering. I've worked in smaller companies where the design engineer would sometimes accompany a sales person on a trip to discuss a prospective customer's needs. Or the design engineer may demonstrate a new product at a show.

    Back in the first years of the microprocessor, an engineer and a sales person took a trip [from the US] to Canada to discuss the requirements of a custom designed instrument the customer wanted to order. Microprocessors were almost unheard of and the customer was fascinated with the versatility of the instrument and how little it cost to add a feature to the instrument. As a matter of fact, the customer kept the conversation going for hours. The engineer was getting very tired and finally said,"Well heck man! We'll make the instrument play the Star Spangled Banner on power up if you pay us enough." He should have mentioned the national anthem for Canada. Luckily, the customer took it as a joke.
     
  20. beenthere

    Retired Moderator

    Apr 20, 2004
    15,815
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    After some years designing/constructing/repairing scientific instrumentation at a university, I placed this notice over my desk:

    SILK PURSE DIVISION

    ACME SOW'S EAR

    There is nothing so fearsome as a motivated researcher who is completely ignorant about electronics and has a tight budget.

    We were "managed" by the Grad School at first, but never by an entity above the administrative assistant level. When one AA embezzled over $500,000, the Grad School office was deemed officially incompetent, and we were placed under Campus Computing, now Information and Technology Services (the alphabetic - IATS - was translated by us to mean Idiots Ain't Too Smart).

    At meetings, the IATS managers mostly showed off their latest tech toys. We had to assemble our computers out of parts from sale catalogs. They ran a repair shop for computers, which consistently lost money. Our supe, while getting a degree in business, turned the shop around and made it work properly. IATS immediately closed it.

    It turned into a low-intensity war between us and what we perceived as egotistical, ignorant micromanagers. Never happier that to be able to take eraly retirement during a workforce reduction plan.

    If I might suggest - never try to manage something you do not understand.
     
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