Micro-management can be a creativity killer. There will be plenty of experiences for software developers that include some form of rigid rules or seemingly constrained process. Most often this could be the industry and due to regulations. Other times it’s the market and the types of customers who have special requirements for how they buy/use software inside their companies (“enterprise”). It can stifle free thinkers, and cause frustration, irritability, and in the worst cases depression.
There is no getting around it, certain industries are going to be regulated. And for good reason. The trouble is that very often the software we build isn’t industry specific, it’s only used by people inside highly regulated industries. This can be frustrating in many ways, from contract negotiations, feature requests, too complicated delivery and versioning requirements. At times it feels impossible due to all the constraints.
Without customers our software is simply code sitting on a server somewhere. As much as we need customers for successful business, on many occasions they can create terrible frustrations. Sometimes it’s a matter of a very unique feature that is only useful to one customer that creates complexity in your code or your deployment patterns. On other occasions it can be complicated if a customer doesn’t want any updates! On a nearly daily basis if your software is successful you will encounter at least one customer who is unhappy. This creates an environment that can be suffocating, limiting, and extremely unpleasant.
The worst of all micro-management experiences is those with your manager. Some managers lead with a “command and control” posture, and others lead with fear and anxiety that can trickle down into your daily experience. This complicates our jobs because they control the levers that allow us to be promoted or improve our compensation. You’ll many articles on the internet about “bad managers”, but there are fewer describing practices for working through, around, or over these types of managers.
What can we do?
With micro-management you’ll find that often you can’t change the environment. You have the choice to adapt and find ways to maintain your authenticity, or look for different opportunities that better fit your style. Together we will find ways to work within these environments, while expressing ourselves, deliver inspiring work, and maintain adherence to the systems and guidelines, or we will work to get you out.