Any job title suffixed with the word manager means:
“Manage something that is unmanageable.”
You need one if you have an unmanageable team, you want to have a manager to manage it, ie. someone to be held responsible.
In my opinion, the term “Manager” is a disguise that organizations have created to cover the mess inside and look pretty.
As an consulting company, if you are still thinking of hiring a manager, it means you are trying to cure the symptom and not the cause. The cause is that you have an unmanageable team. You need to fix that. Hiring a Manager would not do any good.
So, why you should not hire for a “Manager” role?
IT’S NOT THE MAGIC WAND YOU THINK IT IS
You want Mr. Manager to manage the team and get things done. If the team is capable enough and self governing, they do not need a manager and can handle things on their own. If the team is not capable, Mr. Manager will not have the magic wand to get the work done anyway.
SLOWS THINGS DOWN
Instead of having to deal with the development team, multiple people, you want Mr. Manager to be your single point of contact. Now understand how managers work. They generally create meetings (waste of precious time), generate reports, track velocity and use other tools to give you the high level information. They formalize trivial things. Formalizing trivial tasks actually wastes time.
Ideally you should be able to go to any team member and get the information you need. Any member of a self-governing team will be able to help you with the information.
LOSS OF TRANSPARENCY TO CLIENTS
Your project manager generally gets on the client calls. Mr. Manager is the buffer between the developers and the client.
However savvy this Mr. Manager is, the information rarely comes through untarred. It’s better, to have a group call with the client.
If you are an offshore company like us, your clients are already concerned about transparency. When they work with the developers directly, it gives them the confidence of whom they are working with. It also helps team members ask relevant questions and align with the vision of the product.
At Idyllic Software our Ruby developers often handle the client call’s directly and do the talking. We feel a direct conversation is in the best interest of the project and our clients. We encourage, and at times require, our clients to use our project management tools to sign off on the work we deliver, as we deliver.
Since our team is capable enough, we do not need managers and will never have one. As a client, you must always work with the developers directly. Learn the tools they use and speak their language.