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

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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 Managementbrings 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.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

“Watts Humphrey is best known for software engineering approaches that formalize and systematize software development. But I personally have found Watts to be most inspiring when he is discussing the interpersonal, human side of the software equation. The selections in this book emphasize Watts’s deep experience and deep insights into human dynamics and offer a valuable counterpoint to more programmatic writings for which he is better known.”

Steve McConnell

Author of Code Complete and Software Estimation

“Watts Humphrey is doing for the software industry what W. Edwards Deming did with TQM for the automobile industry. For the software executive reading this book, it is my belief that 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! For the software engineer or developer reading this book, it is my belief that you are on your way to making your job more productive, satisfying, and fun.”

Michael J. Cullen

Vice President, Quality, Oracle Communications Global Business Unit

“Software development is a daily collision between code, the most black-and-white of technologies, and organizations, the most idiosyncratic of human experiences. Here is the guidebook–the GPS–to success in navigating the fault line between science and art, between code and human experience. Sharing his knowledge with his characteristic style of analytics and anecdotes, Watts Humphrey imparts timeless wisdom on teams, teamwork, and creating complex software successfully and reliably.”

Scott D. Cook

Founder & Chairman of the Executive Committee, Intuit Inc.

“Fledgling project managers often ask me if there is one book they should read; it was often difficult for me to resist the temptation to recommend Machiavelli’s The Prince. But now I have a better, and far more positive, recommendation: Watts Humphrey’s Reflections on Management–a collection of management gems, organized into eight broad themes, that reflect his deep insights and leadership in the field.”

Ed Yourdon

Consultant and Author

“I’ve followed Watts Humphrey’s work for as long as I can remember. I recall, in my youth, thinking that he was asking too much. Now that I’m suddenly about his age, I realize how many things he has gotten right. This collection from his most important writings should bring these ideas to the attention of a new audience: I urge them to listen better than I did.”

Ron Jeffries

“You will enjoy this collection for its down-to-earth, accessible prose, its pragmatism, its optimism and, above all, Watts’s demonstration that software quality improvement is vitally important and very achievable. Your software team can realize its full potential by applying Watts’s methods. Ours

did, and yours can, too.”

Aidan Waine

Information Solutions General Manager, Microsoft Entertainment & Devices Division

“Software development is a team sport. Watts understands this, and better yet, he knows how to express his understanding so that others can learn from his insight. A good coach knows how to make players and other coaches more successful. Watts is one of the software profession’s great coaches.”

Walker Royce

Vice President, Chief Software Economist, IBM

“Watts Humphrey brings legendary experience and insight to developing great software. 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

Software Leader/Mentor/Entrepreneur; Former SVP & CTO, Intuit

“The software engineering world owes a great debt to Watts Humphrey. His pioneering work in transforming software development practices from random and chaotic to disciplined and effective has saved billions of dollars that might otherwise have been wasted on failed projects. Bill Thomas has assembled kernels of writing by Watts drawn from his previous books and publications. The original books are all excellent, but this summation is valuable in its own right. It provides a very useful overview of Watts’s thinking and the practices he has developed.”

Capers Jones

Chairman and Founder, Software Productivity Research

“Watts Humphrey’s contributions to professional software project management are numerous and range from CMM to Personal Software Process (PSP) and Team Software Process (TSP) practices. This book summarizes all his experiences and represents a unique body of knowledge in the area of project management. It should be the premier choice of reference for all project managers.”

Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. Dieter Rombach

Executive Director, Fraunhofer IESE, Kaiserslautern, Germany

“Watts Humphrey has been the intellectual leader and driving force behind the movement to apply process improvement to software for the last quarter century. He has a deep understanding of management based on years of personal experience, both as an executive and as an advisor to managers and executives of major corporations developing software systems. His keen insight, acquired from helping the international software community apply disciplined management processes, has been captured in his previous books and articles from which this work is derived. His advice is not limited to managers of software systems and certainly will be valuable to managers at all levels.”

Larry E. Druffel, Ph.D.

Director Emeritus and Visiting Scientist, Software Engineering Institute

“Watts Humphrey shares his deep and personal understanding of what goes on in the hearts and minds of software professionals–from engineers to top managers. Watts translates this understanding into software development and management practices for producing the high-quality software products these professions innately want to produce, incorporating personal- and team-level growth, learning, and improvement. This book is certainly a collection of the best-of-the-best guidance Watts has imparted to the industry in this regard. This collection is sure to be a classic.”

Laurie Williams

Associate Professor, North Carolina State University

Reflections on Management is a prescription for leading people in largescale knowledge work. The management themes of commitment, planning,measuring, learning, leading, and teamwork are skillfully echoed throughoutthe book as mutually reinforcing tiles in a mosaic serving to lock inthe vision from every dimension. The book manages to accomplish this ina succinct and easily readable format.”

Don O’Neill

Former President 2005-2008, Center for National Software Studies

“Watts Humphrey, who has written so much that has changed how software is managed and developed, has written another book. And once again he has written an easy-to-read, well-informed, and practical-to-use book that should help almost anyone who has worked on a software project. To say I highly recommend it is probably not saying enough. Buy it. Read it. Use it.”

Ron Radice

Principal Partner, Software Technology Transition

“Watts Humphrey has made a major contribution to the understanding of software quality and how to control and improve it. Since software is the major player in contemporary computer systems, software engineers and managers will benefit significantly by following his guidelines. I particularly liked his advice that quality is a never-ending journey and his emphasis on continuous improvement of both product and process. This is important because software may last for decades. Organizations seldom discard software. They enhance and reuse it in perpetuity. Thus, software quality must be a lifecycle journey.”

Norman Schneidewind

Professor Emeritus of Information Sciences, Naval Postgraduate School

“Watts Humphrey’s Reflections on Management is a treasure trove of insights and advice from one of the leading lights in software project management. It is a must read. We are fortunate that Watts took the time to write and share his thoughts and experiences; even the chapter titles provide good advice and insights.”

Victor R. Basili

Professor, University of Maryland

“Watts Humphrey’s ideas, encapsulated in this book, aren’t just another set of software engineering techniques and methods. Rather, they represent a way of life that encourages us to work more effectively, alone and with others; to develop our talent; and even to become better people through self-knowledge, commitment, and consideration of quality as a top priority.”

Juliana Herbert

Senior Consultant, Herbert Consulting, Brazil

“Watts Humphrey’s latest book has a very fortunate title; it is a genuine invitation into a transformation of how we manage our projects, our teams, and ourselves. Watts manages to draw from his rich and extensive professional experience in software development and shed light upon the road to quality. In itself, quality in software is his life quest, and Watts rightly suggests methods to accomplish this goal.”

Fernando J. Jaimes

Fellow, Monterrey Institute of Technology, Mexico

“This is a wonderful book. Fans of Watts Humphrey will find new and personal examples that put the previous books in another perspective. Those who know his work but have not applied it yet may be convinced to do so now. Reflections on Management may be a pleasant introduction for those (if any) who do not know Watts Humphrey or his work.”

Michiel van Genuchten

Manager of Digital Dentistry, Institut Straumann AG, Switzerland

“At the core, Humphrey appeals to management to create the vision of better products, greater professional fulfillment, and the joy of delivering something that is used and useful. For those of us needing a daily dose of encouragement, this book is the abundant and articulate source of it.”

Stan Rifkin

Master Systems, Inc.

Reflections on Management is a superbly organized book, with simple, concise chapters. It describes a comprehensive, totally disciplined approach, covering all aspects of software development, from the personal concern of the individual engineer to teams of engineers building large, significant systems. The book deserves to be on the desk of every software development manager and student.”

Lawrence H. Putnam

President, Quantitative Software Management, Inc.

“How to manage technical people? How to control a software project? How to introduce and sustain disciplined software engineering practices? How to mature your organization? How to build a high performing team? How to develop excellent software? Until now you had to read five to ten books to learn all the lessons taught by the Father of Software Process. And then, of course, you had to integrate it all in your head. With this book, Watts’s lifetime of lessons and advice all coalesce into one book. If you truly want to understand the discipline of software management, start here.”

Dr. Bill Curtis

Senior Vice President and Chief Scientist, CAST Software

Director, Consortium for IT Software Quality

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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.

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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

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