Herding Cats: A Primer for Programmers Who Lead Programmers

Overview

Herding Cats: A Primer for Programmers Who Lead Programmers is a comprehensive guide—think of it as a field manual—to the management challenges of supervising and leading programmers. J. Hank Rainwater introduces new and not-so-new managers to concepts that will encourage them and help them become a strong leaders for their teams. You'll learn about the varieties of programmer personality traits and be able match personnel to projects for maximum productivity. You'll also learn how to manage your strengths and ...

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Overview

Herding Cats: A Primer for Programmers Who Lead Programmers is a comprehensive guide—think of it as a field manual—to the management challenges of supervising and leading programmers. J. Hank Rainwater introduces new and not-so-new managers to concepts that will encourage them and help them become a strong leaders for their teams. You'll learn about the varieties of programmer personality traits and be able match personnel to projects for maximum productivity. You'll also learn how to manage your strengths and weaknesses as you improve your leadership skills, which will result in dramatic improvements to your teams success.

In this “how-to” manual that's both practical and thought-provoking, you'll find several chapters devoted to administrative aspects of your job, such as managing meetings, hiring and firing, and principles of organizing your job for success. Rainwater also describes task management software he built that you can use to organize project assignments. (The source code for this software is available for download once you own the book). The chapter on technical leadership, which highlights the importance of architecture, design, and code reviews, also illustrates practical applications of leadership and concrete methods useful to any workplace.

Rainwater shows why things can go wrong for a leader and how to correct career-derailing problems as they arise. One chapter is devoted to the working relationship that you as a manager have with your boss, and it guides you into the best way to respond to the pressures of software project deadlines. Numerous other topics are discussed that are a necessity for anyone seeking to manage the “peopleware” aspects of software development. Herding Cats: A Primer for Programmers Who Lead Programmers is the definitive guide to the challenges and obstacles facing anyone who manages programmers.

Table of Contents

  1. Adapting to Your Leadership Role
  2. Managing the Leader
  3. Leading the Herd
  4. Organizing for Success
  5. Managing Meetings
  6. Philosophy and Practice of Technical Leadership
  7. Leadership in Eclipse
  8. Leadership Redux
  9. Working with Your Boss
  10. Words without a Song
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Editorial Reviews

From The Critics
Frenz has a broad background—as a programmer for 10-plus years, as a graduate student in biochemistry using artificial neural networks to model biological systems, and as a contributing editor to the journal . Here he addresses novice programmers, beginning with coverage of the Visual Basic development environment's characteristics, then progressing to detailed information about creating programs (the various data types and loop structures), in-depth coverage of mathematical modeling, a brief introduction to the field of bioinformatics, and discussion of how to code a scientific Web-based application. Throughout, he uses practical, nontrivial examples to illustrate tools and techniques. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781590590171
  • Publisher: Apress
  • Publication date: 3/4/2002
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 252
  • Product dimensions: 0.59 (w) x 9.25 (h) x 7.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Hank Rainwater leads programmers who build software for the insurance industry at Risk Sciences Group in Atlanta, Georgia. His career in science and engineering has spanned over three decades and has included writing Fortran programs on punch cards; teaching college mathematics; conducting research in radio astronomy, missile guidance systems, and remote sensing technologies; and managing the building of embedded digital control systems. As a software professional, Hank has served as a consultant, mentor, and teacher of programming languages and has led development teams in several industries.
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Table of Contents

Foreword
About the Author
About the Technical Reviewer
About the Artist
Acknowledgments
Preface
Ch. 1 Adapting to Your Leadership Role 1
Ch. 2 Managing the Leader 21
Ch. 3 Leading the Herd 41
Ch. 4 Organizing for Success 61
Ch. 5 Managing Meetings 87
Ch. 6 Philosophy and Practice of Technical Leadership 103
Ch. 7 Leadership in Eclipse 129
Ch. 8 Leadership Redux 151
Ch. 9 Working with Your Boss 179
Ch. 10 Words without a Song 193
Afterword: Into the Fray 217
App. A Caring for Your Pet: The Administrative Director Software 221
App. B Poking Your Pet in the Eye: Code Review of the Administrative Director 227
Bibliography: Resources for Cat Herders 235
Index 243
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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 24, 2005

    keep thinking

    Rainwater offers much advice on what are mostly intangible issues of leading a programming team. In large part, he directs this at a senior programmer or developer who has hitherto dealt mostly with purely technical matters. But now you've risen to this supposedly exalted management role, where your background may not be enough for you to feel fully comfortable. So Rainwater talks about various soft topics like recruiting, conducting meetings and evaluating your team. Reassuringly, he says that with concentration you can develop and improve these skills. But he also makes an astute observation. That thinking is absolutely crucial to your success. That you should practise this continuously and not just in the office. What he says here is correct, but the scope is not limited to just those leading a team. If you're a technology professional, ultimately your value comes from applying your intellect to the utmost. As a professional inventor, I found his remarks to be spot on to my situation. Where by focusing steadily on a problem, I have found novel solutions, and depths to the problem that in turn led to more complete solutions.

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