Supervision - Term Overview

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Supervision is the action and effect of supervising , a verb that supposes to exercise the inspection of a work carried out by another person.

Whoever supervises is in a situation of hierarchical superiority , since he has the capacity or the power to determine whether the supervised action is correct or not. Therefore, supervision is the act of monitoring certain activities in such a way that they are carried out in satisfactory way.

Supervision is used mainly in the field of companies , where the position of supervisor usually exists . In this sense, supervision is a technical and specialized activity whose purpose is the rational use of productive factors. The supervisor is in charge of controlling that the workers, raw materials, machinery and all the company's resources are coordinated to contribute to the success of the company.

The work of supervision is usually framed within an organizational scheme , where each level responds to a higher level. Just as workers in an area are accountable to the supervisor, the supervisor has to report to a general manager, for example.

The supervisor must not only be someone experienced in the area they supervise, but must have sufficient authority to direct the rest of the people. Therefore, among the main characteristics of a supervisor are knowledge of the job (regarding materials, technology , procedures, etc.) and their responsibilities (including company policies and regulations), and the ability to instruct (staff training) and direct (lead staff).

Within a software development company , for example, a commonly adopted model for organizing staff is to group them into "islands," or to divide them into groups of a few people who sit together, their desks joined. One of the members of each island is necessarily the supervisor, and his work exceeds the mere control of his programmers.

In principle, it's important to point out that it's on their shoulders that the weight of delivery dates falls , generally called deadlines , using a term of English origin. When a project is born , the supervisors of each group meet to analyze the work to be done and decide what is the most efficient way to face it, they divide them into as many parts as possible and then assign them to each team, based on their knowledge of the capabilities and experience of the different programmers. It is worth mentioning that it's likely that the islands will change over time, trying to bring people with complementary skills closer together and spreading those who can improve the performance of their peers.

Once the work is divided, each supervisor has the difficult task of deciding what portion to assign to each person , again making use of his knowledge of the characteristics of his team. But this decision isn't as simple as it seems; It isn't enough to give everyone what they do best, since the main objective isn't to complete the part of the project that corresponds to them, but to successfully reach the delivery date . And here begins the critical period of a supervisor's work.

Unlike a personal project, which allows us to take all the time necessary to complete it 100%, companies struggle to stay current in the market , and for this they must make sacrifices of various kinds. As far as software is concerned, one of them is to complete them as soon as possible, even if this requires leaving gaps in their structure. A piece of code that offers a temporary or closed solution to a problem is generally called a "patch" , in the same way that a piece of paper can momentarily stop the swaying of an uneven table; and it's the supervisors who decide if and when to patch a program in order to deliver it on time.

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