Reflections on Management: How to Manage Your Software Projects, Your Teams, Your Boss, and Yourself (SEI Series in Software Engineering)

Paperback (Print)
Buy New
Buy New from
Used and New from Other Sellers
Used and New from Other Sellers
from $11.94
Usually ships in 1-2 business days
(Save 65%)
Other sellers (Paperback)
  • All (9) from $11.94   
  • New (5) from $22.47   
  • Used (4) from $11.94   


“Whether you are in a startup or Fortune 500 company; are a developer, development manager, or CEO; use agile, lean, waterfall, or other methodology–if software and quality are important to you, you should read and pay attention to Watts’s reflections.”

–Bill Ihrie, Former SVP & CTO, Intuit

“You will enjoy this collection for its down to earth, accessible prose, its pragmatism, optimism, and, above all, Watts’s demonstration that software quality improvement is vitally important and very achievable.”

–Aidan Waine, Information Solutions General Manager, Microsoft Entertainment & Devices Division

“Watts has developed a real weapon for beating your competition: a reliable, repeatable way to create software that has excellent quality and reduces the time to deliver it to your customer and lowers the cost of the entire software life cycle and improves employee morale. All at the same time!”

–Michael J. Cullen, Vice President, Quality, Oracle Communications Global Business Unit

A Lifetime of Invaluable Management Insights from Legendary Software Quality Guru Watts S. Humphrey

In 1986, Watts S. Humphrey made an outrageous commitment: a promise to transform software development. As the pioneering innovator behind SEI’s Capability Maturity Model (CMM), Personal Software Process (PSP), and Team Software Process (TSP), Humphrey has more than met that promise. But his contributions go beyond methodology: For decades, his deeply personal writings on project management have been admired by software engineers worldwide.

Reflections on Management brings together Humphrey’s best and most influential essays and articles sharing insights that will be indispensable for anyone who must achieve superior results in software or any other endeavor.

Collected here for the first time, these works offer compelling insights into everything from planning day-to-day work to improving quality, encouraging teamwork to becoming a truly great leader.

All of these writings share a powerful vision, grounded by a life in software that has extended across nearly six decades. The vision is this: To succeed, professionals must effectively manage far more than plans, schedules, and code they must manage teams, bosses, and above all, themselves.

Read More Show Less

Product Details

Meet the Author

Watts S. Humphrey is a Senior Fellow at the Software Engineering Institute (SEI), where he introduced concepts that evolved into CMMI, and where he led development of both personal and team software processes (PSP and TSP). Previously, he was a manager and executive at IBM for twenty-seven years. He is the author of twelve highly influential books on software management and process improvement.

William R. Thomas manages the SEI’s Technical Communications team.

Read More Show Less

Table of Contents

Preface xvii

Prologue xxi

About the Authors xxv

Part I: Managing Your Projects 1

Chapter 1: Committing to High Quality 3

1.1 The Software Quality Challenge 3

1.2 What Is Software Quality? 6

1.3 Defects Are Not “Bugs” 10

1.4 Quality Is a Journey That Never Ends 11

1.5 Start by Defining Your Goal 14

Sources 16

Chapter 2: Planning for High-Quality Projects 17

2.1 The Hardest Time to Make a Plan Is When You Need It Most 18

2.2 Make Two Kinds of Plans: Period and Product 20

2.3 Make Product Plans for Every Major Task 23

2.4 Review Detailed Plans with Your Management 25

2.5 Everyone Loses with Incompetent Planning 27

2.6 Plans Must Meet Five Basic Requirements 30

2.7 When You Can’t Plan Accurately, Plan Often 32

2.8 Plans Must Be Maintained 34

Sources 36

Part II: Managing Your Teams 37

Chapter 3: Elements of Effective Teams 39

3.1 Teams Commit to Common Goals 40

3.2 Teams Can Perform Better Than Individuals Do Alone 42

3.3 Teams Often Face Seven Common Problems 43

3.4 Four Reasons That Teams Fail 46

3.5 The Jelled Team 51

3.6 Four Things Effective Teams Need 52

3.7 Teams Develop Over Time 54

3.8 Three Elements of Team Communication 56

3.9 Forming-Storming-Norming-Performing 58

3.10 The Best Kind of Group 61

3.11 Teams Adopt Various Working Styles 65

3.12 Properties of Self-Directed Teams 69

Sources 75

Chapter 4: Being an Effective Team Member 77

4.1 Good Team Members Do Whatever Is Needed 78

4.2 Commitment Is an Ethic That Must Be Learned 79

4.3 A Goal Is Something You Want to Achieve 81

4.4 Every New Idea Starts as a Minority of One 83

4.5 All Team Members Should Contribute What They Know 84

4.6 Team-Building Requires Active Involvement of All Team Members 86

4.7 Good Negotiators Have an Effective Strategy 89

4.8 One Non-Participant Will Reduce Everyone’s Performance 92

4.9 Ask for Help and Offer Yours 94

Sources 95

Chapter 5: Leading and Coaching Your Teams 97

5.1 Leadership Makes the Greatest Difference 98

5.2 The Three Principal Motivators Are Fear, Greed, and Commitment 99

5.3 Making and Sustaining Commitments 104

5.4 Create a Sense of Urgency with Short-Term Goals 105

5.5 Involve the Entire Team When Selecting New Team Members 107

5.6 The Power of Coaching 109

5.7 Techniques for Getting All Team Members Involved 110

5.8 Put Teams to Work During the Storming Phase 123

5.9 Building the Management Team 125

5.10 The Essence of Rational Management 127

Sources 129

Part III: Managing Your Boss 131

Chapter 6: Negotiating Your Projects and Defending Your Plans 133

6.1 Projects Get into Trouble at the Very Beginning 134

6.2 Keep Your Team Focused on Top Priorities 137

6.3 Always Make a Plan before Making Any Commitments 139

6.4 Teach Your Manager to Negotiate With You 143

6.5 Lean Really Is Mean 145

6.6 What to Do When a Project Is Doomed 146

6.7 Autocratic Bosses Demotivate Workers and Diminish Performance 150

6.8 Is Your Environment Autocratic? 153

6.9 Building a Case for Process Improvement 155

6.10 Making the Strategic Case for Process Improvement 161

6.11 Making the Tactical Case for Process Improvement 169

6.12 What Management Expects from a Team Leader 176

Sources 179

Part IV: Managing Yourself 181

Chapter 7: Taking Control of Your Work 183

7.1 A Defined Process Will Help You Improve 184

7.2 Be Your Own Boss, and Don’t Be a Victim 185

7.3 How to Improve the Quality of Your Work 186

7.4 The 18-Hour Work Week 188

7.5 Fight Phantom Issues in High-Pressure Projects 192

7.6 Support Staff Can Help You 194

7.7 The Logic of Time Management 196

7.8 Being Responsible Is about Ownership and Attitude 199

7.9 Delay Is Almost Always the Worst Alternative 202

7.10 Being Committed Is a State of Mind 204

7.11 Manage Commitments So You Don’t Forget Any or Run Out of Time 207

7.12 What Do You Want From Life? 209

7.13 Devote Yourself to Excellence 211

Sources 211

Chapter 8: Learning to Lead 213

8.1 How You Behave Affects Your Team 213

8.2 Leaders Set an Example for Their Teams 215

8.3 Learn to Avoid the Symptoms of Poor Leadership 217

8.4 Leadership Must Be Earned 220

8.5 Strive to Be a Transformational Leader 222

8.6 Leaders Are Made by Their Circumstances 224

8.7 Leading from Below 225

Sources 227

Epilogue: Software Engineers Are the Pioneers of Knowledge Work 229

Appendix: PSP, TSP, and CMMI 237

The Personal Software Process (PSP) 237

The Team Software Process (TSP) 239

CMM and CMMI 240

Bibliography 243

Index 245

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star


4 Star


3 Star


2 Star


1 Star


Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation


  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

    If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
    Why is this product inappropriate?
    Comments (optional)