Now, ask any manager and he will tell you he does not micromanage. However, we do keep coming across such managers with a frightening regularity which makes me pause and think - why ?
Mostly I think it has to do with career progression. Most people join as lowly devs and become senior programmers, move on to team leads ... and then the transition happens. They look around and the future becomes very one sided. They see that the big pay cheques are where the managers are. So, they want to become a manager.
Not necessarily a bad thing, but management is a whole different ball game. From being a solo star, they have to become group stars and mostly they fail - miserably. That's where the micromanagement comes in. When alone, they had everything under them in control, and as they become managers they become control freaks. They NEED to know everything. So, they start to interfere in everything - and need a hour by hour breakup of what is everyone doing, in the misguided hope that everything will be going according to plan.
However, that never works out. Software work is never something that you can just keep doing all the time. It is done in fits and starts. Sometimes you are doing 200% and others just nothing gets done. Micromanaging in such situations leads to a zombieness. People stop thinking and just doing what is asked on a day to day basis - never thinking more or doing more than what they are told to.
But alas there seems to be no solution. The reward for good technical work is to become a manager and then (mis) manage everything. A comment at mini has the following :
I’m smart enough to know that I would not make a good manager, especially if my motivation for becoming a manager is simply to further my career. At least if I screw up as an IC, I’m not screwing up five other people’s careers.Alas, not everyone is as wise or as selfless as that person. Till that time, we shall continue to get our creativity crushed under the micromanagers !