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I have been a developer for 5+ years. I have seen a spectrum of colleagues and manager. I feel you have to work very closely with people on a day-to-day basis and work with different personalities.

Though you are a individual contributor, there seems to be lot of drama and politics involved. Is product manager role better in that sense?

  • as long as you group "drama and politics" into a single thing as though they were two words for the same thing, you aren't going to learn the important differences between being a developer and managing developers or projects. – Kate Gregory Jul 24 at 23:53
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    Define better :) Do you want to work more with different types of people or less? What does a product manager do? Doe they work with customers additionally to the work with developers? – Bernhard Döbler Jul 25 at 9:45
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which role involves more drama and politics? developer or product manager?

I've done both.

Product Manager involves far more drama and politics in my experience. It's not even close.

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    Except for being a lead/lone developer when there's not a product manager because then you get both bundles of drama for your trouble. – mxyzplk Jul 25 at 0:12
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    @mxyzplk nitpick - in that case, the person would be having both a Dev and a Product Manager role (either explicit or implicit), of which Prod Manager is the one with "more drama and politics" (so there is no "except" :) – DarkCygnus Jul 25 at 0:23
  • @DarkCygnus more likely explicit developer with implicit Product Manager and explicit developer's pay :) – Walfrat Jul 25 at 10:39
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    Isn't a product manager exactly a role to take care of most of the drama, anyway?^^ – Frank Hopkins Jul 25 at 13:17
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Drama and politics are involved when there is people. You never have drama or politics between machines or forces of nature. As a consequence, on average, any title of manager that means you actually manage people will have more politics and drama then a job without managing capacity.

While you can experience drama and politics as a developer, it's not your job to handle that. You can punt it to somebody who is a manager.

Politics itself is a function of hierarchy. If you work in a small company and your boss is the owner, there is no politics. You will never be the boss and the boss has nothing to prove to anybody. The decisions the boss makes are automatically for the good of the company, because their personal and professional goals are pretty much aligned. If you work in a big mega corporation, with your boss being the "senior vice assistant chief executive" guy who wants to become the "senior assistant chief executive", then there will be politics. There will be agendas. People will act in their own interest instead of their employers interest.

  • Some of the nastiest office politics I've ever seen was people jockeying for position with each other under an owner in a small business. – Player One Jul 25 at 8:24
  • @PlayerOne Well, I guess there is still a hierarchy involved then... If the business is small enough, there is just one level... boss and "not-the-boss"-people. As soon as the boss creates sub-bosses (team leads, xyz-managers) there are options for politics. – nvoigt Jul 25 at 8:30
  • disagree with the "any decision the boss makes is for the greater good", having worked for short sighted idiots whose only talent was convincing rich people to fund their ideas (and then plundering said startup as soon as they could get away with it) – Borgh Jul 25 at 9:10
  • @Borgh I never said "the greater good". It might be in the best interest of the boss to reduce cost and let people go. But it will never be to impress their boss. To gain more influence or rise through the ranks or get a fat bonus. An owner has no need for politics because they can just do that all without politics. Can that decision be to the disadvantage of the employees? Sure. Can it be to the disadvantage of the company for example if the boss is plain wrong or a crook? Sure. But it has nothing to do with politics. – nvoigt Jul 25 at 9:38
  • Ok, but you said "are automatically for the good of the company" which I extrapolated from. – Borgh Jul 25 at 12:02
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I've been a developer for 8,5 years, and so far I've never encountered politics and drama of any kind. And looking at my managers so far, the only politics I've seen them face has been related to internal transfers, where our team had to wait for a while before an internal transfer was "allowed", ie. his other dependencies were completed in his team.

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    Count yourself lucky and don't switch jobs :) – nvoigt Jul 25 at 9:39

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