Beginners Guide to Management –Important Decisions

“For tomorrow? But I’m still working on fixing this issue at the moment and that’s a P1 ‘live system down’ case – it’ll probably take me the rest of the day alone and then I have to finish the modifications that you asked for yesterday for tomorrow as well – it’s not going to be easy to change the screen design around in the way you wanted. If you’d asked for it originally it might not have been so hard but trying to retro-fit it is going to be a pain in the…”

The middle aged man, head newly shaved to hide his thinning grey hair, stands in front of me rubbing the tiny goatee beard on his chin and smiles condescendingly. “I just need you to change the way that the update routine works in that service pack for tomorrow, ok? You just need to do both.”

I sigh and rub my eyes, its late afternoon and they feel tired and sore, “yes but which is the priority?”

“All of them”, he smiles blankly at me, “OK? Great, thanks”, and he turns to walk off.

“Well which is priority?” I ask.

“All of them.”

“Yes, OK, I understand but there’s one of me and about a week’s worth of work to be finished for tomorrow – so which is priority?”

He thinks for a moment and rubs his beard again, a troubled look crosses his brow as the enormity of the decision drifts like a grey cloud across the happy bunny day in his mind, “well,” he begins, “all of them.”

I stare at him for a long, disbelieving moment.

“Look,” he starts again, “don’t forget – I’m your shit shield. I have to take all the brown stuff when it hits the fan and wipe it off before you even knew it was there, that’s what managers are there for.”

I continue to stare, a thousand possible replies of indignation and witty retort spectacularly fail to burst in to my mind – waiting to wake me up in a cold sweat at 3am in bed – and my jaw hangs loose for a moment. I continue weakly, “yes but I need to know which is more important commercially – I only have one pair of hands and if this had been specified properly in the first place like I’d asked…” I let the words hang.

“Just do one then the other”, he says and turns and walks away.