A technically-clueless master of bullshit and bureaucracy-surfing.
A graduate of DilBert
University trained to insinuate himself between the big shots above and the grunts below. See IEEE Software Sept/Oct 1998 p.18.
See Also: PointyHairedBosses
Sometimes used as a DramaticIdentity
here on WardsWiki
Some PHBs will drive you to work for the competition. When you announce you are leaving, they might just throw a chair across their office, and emit an obscenity-laced tirade implying they are going to "bury" that competition. See http://www.theregister.co.uk/2005/09/05/chair_chucking/ for the incident that inspired this paragraph.
The value of this tactic in retaining the employees needed to accomplish that "bury" UserStory
using clean code (instead of dirty tricks) is currently a matter of debate.
You can "bury" the competition literally
with dirty tricks (ie, have them rubbed out), or you can "bury" them figuratively
by producing a superior product. The "UserStory
" thing is just an extension of the metaphor, I think. In any case, chair-throwing is not the way to accomplish it, and is a symptom of acute AlphaMale
Kiss-up traits of a PointyHairedBoss
- Pretend they understand tech, but they don't
- specifically: Says all the right things, at every meeting, for months, until you are completely off your guard, and then one day wham the hammer falls. The question "What's a 'UnitTest'?" is a veil for "why are we paying you to write unit tests when everyone else is fixing bugs like they are supposed to?" and so on...
- Reasons using superficial traits of something
- Reasons using PowerPoint presentations
- Reads a commit list record constantly on style, but somehow convinced you are not following said style guide... really.
- Loves buzzwords, but doesn't fully understand their meanings
- Believes the sales people because they use words like "synergy", "team-enhancing technology" and "integration"
- Will say or do just about anything to avoid committing to something specific or precise.
- "Well of course my team complains a lot! That just shows I'm forcing them to be productive & not lazy!"
- "Our new product has half a million lines of code!"
- Knows the code review system was invented to haze newbs; get the whole team involved!
- Can play the "nothing you ever say is correct" game for a long, long time...
- You got hired because your resume contained decades of agile coaching. Then you get caught doing it...
- "We value innovation around here," except when my minions are more innovative than me. Then it's a sign of gold-bricking...
- Believes the status quo has "always worked for us before"
- Per SharpenTheSaw, thinks the more strokes needed to cut down the tree, the more "progress" we made [IMHO this is very very very important]
- Teaches you to keep your best suggestions a secret, after you see what happens to the good ones
- "Quit thinking outside my box!"
- "Hey! Who killed my PetBug?!"
- Your absolute best role in the current landscape would be coach. Hence, your colleagues are allowed to be miles away during core hours.
- "You're NotaTeamPlayer. You're having trouble fitting in here. Why don't you WorkHarderNotSmarter, like your colleagues?"
- MicroManagement prevents you from doing X, even though it's very low risk and will improve things. But you know you can get permission to do Y, and quietly piggyback X on it. Even though Y is much higher risk. eg: adding covariant return types to the java language by introducing generics.
- "I better not catch you wasting time reading that danged Wiki again. It's giving you notions!"
- All the symptoms of you obeying his dumb orders show up in your performance review.
- "If you were a team player, you would stop adding all those tests that fail on your colleagues' workstations."
- "Don't give me any crap about DailyBuilds. We have too many CodeForks. A total rebuild would take too long."
- "Don't give me any guff about our CodeForks. To fix them, everyone would have to set up CommonBuildEnvironments, and that would slow them down from working on our next feature."
- "I only understand practices A, B, & C, but not their complementing practices X, Y, & Z. So I'm going to relentlessly micro-manage you on the former, then complain when you go off schedule."
- "Would you quit trying to CaptureBugsWithTests and just fix them?!"
- Liable to release the guy who was quietly insulating him from the consequences of his decisions...
- When you make your colleagues look good, they get all the credit. When they make you look bad, you get all the blame.
- You warn him to do X or else Y will happen. He doesn't do X. Y happens. Guess who gets this blame too.
- Orders you to frequently claim amnesia during your performance review.
Based, as usual, on a true story; and all the same boss. >sigh< --PhlIp
11 January 2004
A perfect example of a mutual lack of responsible task assignment and problem follow-through as well as a revelation of the absence of an honest dialogue. Things really don't go down like this in a survivable LearningOrganization
- Dilbert: I discovered a hole in our Internet security.
- PointyHairedBoss: What?!! Good grief, man! How could you put a hole in our Internet?
- Dilbert: I didn't _put_ it there. I _found_ it... And it's not...
- PointyHairedBoss: It's your job to fix that hole. I want you to work 24-7!
- Dilbert: Actually, that's _not_ my job. But I'll inform our network management group.
- PointyHairedBoss: PASSING THE BUCK! YOU'RE A BUCK PASSER!
- Dilbert: Forget it! There's no hole! It got better.
- PointyHairedBoss: That's more like it.
- PointyHairedBoss (thinking to himself): I fixed the Internet.
PHB #1: "This survey shows our employees think we in management are clueless superficial jerks. What do we do about it?"
PHB #2: "I got it! Fire them all and outsource their work to new people who don't yet
know we are clueless superficial jerks."
PHB #1: "Brilliant! Let's vote ourselves a raise for this plan!"
See also: YouKnowYoureInaBleepedCompanyWhen