False technical people and Peter Principle

Peter Principle
says: "In a Hierarchy Every Employee Tends to Rise to His Level of Incompetence".

In other words, we keep being promoted while we're are competent until we became incompetent.

This principle is right, we developers tend to promote until project managers, where we stop developing (supposedly what we were good at ;)

And we (sadly) too often see people incompetent in high levels (bad project managers, useless analysts, money greedy area managers...).

But one corollary that (sadly) could be added to this principle is the following one: "Every false technical employee tries to rise to his level of incompetence as fast as possible".

And what do I mean with "false technical employee"? Very simple; I mean those people whom not being really good at what they do, try to escalate positions as soon as possible, until they reach the typical "level of incompetence" (usually to project managers, technical directors, or as a friend says "powerpoint analysts" ;) so that their incompetence is masked away or seen "normal for that position".

There are people who simply "lost the train" of technical knowledge, but I'm not talking about them. I'm talking about people who lies about what they know. People that usually have problems in almost every project they participate into (and always have excuses like "the customer doesn't likes me"). People that tries to make everyone notice how technical they apparently are.

But usually, they are people who just want to escape to non-technical positions as quick as possible, to hide the truth.

Sometimes this people try to support on others to do their work (not for advice), even getting upset in the case of not receiving the desired help.

Instead of learning to try to solve the problem by themselves, they go the easy way ("let others do it for me").

Once they reach the typical level of incompetence (project manager/technical director), their lack of knowledge is easily hidden and they (finally) can relax and stop wearing the mask. The funny thing is that their level of incompetence is usually lower than the average (for example, they tend to have just the average development skills, not even being suitable for being analysts).

As gandalf would say, if you see one of this... Run, you fools!

I try to be as helpful as possible (even with this false technicals, as long as they don't abuse too much), but I know of real world examples of negation of "help" ending in reprisals/vengeance acts.


Posted by Kartones on 2008-10-05