Good managers are immune to survivorship bias

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Learning the golden truth from the one successful projects is rarely possible. Always keep your starting position in mind.

Management in general

Good old-fashioned capitalism tells us that a good manager increases the absolute profit of a business. The essence of good management is deriving actions from measuring business performance.

How many numbers of screws were produced?

How many defects exist per batch?

How expensive do we sell each screw?

The actions that follow from such questions are straightforward.

Software management is complex

A well-touted slogan is that the software industry is not traditional assembly line work.

Software is not monolithic, and interactions of the many components are complex.

In addition, software creation requires highly skilled workers. These workers are often better educated than managers.

Managers usually can derive little authority from education alone. They can not just prescribe a possible solution. The software workers want to be convinced, not ordered to perform a task.

All this boils down to Daniel Pink’s Mastery, Purpose, and Autonomy.

Software management requires discussions on eye level

Many of today’s issues can be better fixed by self-organizing teams. The decision needs to be taken on the spot. Reducing communication waste in the chain of command can lead to higher outputs.

Researching ideas how to improve your business

Every business is different. And while every manager faces similar problems, there are slightly different.

Still, as a manager, you rarely have the time to test all the possible solutions. And coming back to the previous point, you will lose the trust of your workers if you try many things aimlessly.

Management books are an endless source of inspiration and improvement ideas.

Every year there are at least a dozen of new books. At once every decade, there comes a new management method that promises better results. All these methods present successful companies that changed something in their organization and increased profits.

Take the Spotify model. Spotify is successful; should not all companies organize themself as Spotify did?

There is no yearbook of company bankruptcy

The number and reasons why projects fail or companies go bankrupt often remain in the dark. Many companies fail due to trivial issues, like lack of funding.

But what about the decline of old behemoths like Kodak?

The issue is that these business stories rarely have statistical relevance. Applying one of the remedies to your business could help, it could not matter, or it could harm.

The business success stories are marked by survivorship bias.

And blindly ignoring this will lead to surprises while implementing your new shiny methodology.