Managing the Unmanageable: Rules, Tools, and Insights for Managing Software People and Teams

Managing the Unmanageable: Rules, Tools, and Insights for Managing Software People and Teams

by Mickey Mantle, Ron Lichty
Managing the Unmanageable: Rules, Tools, and Insights for Managing Software People and Teams

Managing the Unmanageable: Rules, Tools, and Insights for Managing Software People and Teams

by Mickey Mantle, Ron Lichty


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The Essential Guide to Effectively Managing Developers So You Can Deliver Better Software–Now Extensively Updated
“Lichty and Mantle have assembled a guide that will help you hire, motivate, and mentor a software development team that functions at the highest level. Their rules of thumb and coaching advice form a great blueprint for new and experienced software engineering managers alike.”
–Tom Conrad, CTO, Pandora

“Reading this book’s nuggets felt like the sort of guidance that I would get from a trusted mentor. A mentor who I not only trusted, but one who trusted me to take the wisdom, understand its limits, and apply it correctly.”
–Mike Fauzy, CTO, FauzyLogic

Today, many software projects continue to run catastrophically over schedule and budget, and still don’t deliver what customers want. Some organizations conclude that software development can’t be managed well. But it can–and it starts with people. In their extensively updated Managing the Unmanageable, Second Edition, Mickey W. Mantle and Ron Lichty show how to hire and develop programmers, onboard new hires quickly and successfully, and build and nurture highly effective and productive teams.
Drawing on over 80 years of combined industry experience, the authors share Rules of Thumb, Nuggets of Wisdom, checklists, and other Tools for successfully leading programmers and teams, whether they’re co-located or dispersed worldwide. This edition adds extensive new Agile coverage, new approaches to recruitment and onboarding, expanded coverage of handling problem employees, and much more. Whether you’re new to software management or you’ve done it for years, you’ll find indispensable advice for handling your challenges and delivering outstanding software.
  • Find, recruit, and hire the right programmers, when you need them
  • Manage programmers as the individuals they are
  • Motivate software people and teams to accomplish truly great feats
  • Create a successful development subculture that can thrive even in a toxic company culture
  • Master the arts of managing down and managing up
  • Embrace your role as a manager who empowers self-directed agile teams to thrive and succeed

Register your book for convenient access to downloads, updates, and/or corrections as they become available. See inside book for details.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780135667675
Publisher: Pearson Education
Publication date: 11/12/2019
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: eBook
Pages: 544
Sales rank: 590,752
File size: 5 MB

About the Author

Mickey W. Mantle has been developing software for more than forty years as a software and hardware product creator, manager, and executive for companies that include Evans & Sutherland, Pixar, Broderbund, and Gracenote. He currently develops mobile/tablet applications, writes, and consults.

Ron Lichty has been developing software for thirty years, most of them as a programming manager, director of development, and vice president of products and engineering for companies that include Apple, Fujitsu, Razorfish, and Schwab. He has written four books and hundreds of articles. He consults with startups and companies large and small to unravel the knots in software development and make it hum.

Table of Contents

Preface xxiii
About the Authors xxxi

Chapter 1: Why Programmers Seem Unmanageable 1
What Do Programmers Do? 3
Why Is Becoming a Successful Programming Manager Hard? 7

Chapter 2: Understanding Programmers 11

Programming Disciplines 12
Types of Programmers 19
Programmer Job Requirements and Abilities 23
Proximity and Relationship 27
Generational Styles 31
Personality Styles 34
Summary 41
Tools 41

Chapter 3: Finding and Hiring Great Programmers 43
Determining What Kind of Programmer to Hire 45
Writing the Job Description 47
Selling the Hire 53
Recruiting Full-Time Employees (FTEs) 54
Recruiting Contractors 64
Reviewing Résumés 65
Narrowing the Field 67
Preparing to Interview 68
Interviewing 75
Making the Decision to Hire a Programmer 79
Making the Right Offer to a Programmer 83
Follow Up until the Programmer Accepts 89
Summary 90
Tools 90

Chapter 4: Getting New Programmers Started Off Right 91
Get Them on Board Early 92
Preparing for Their Arrival 93
First-Day Musts 94
Introductions 98
Ensuring Success 100
Initial Expectations 102
Summary 105
Tools 105

Chapter 5: Becoming an Effective Programming Manager: Managing Down 107
Earning Technical Respect 108
Hire Great Programmers 113
Turbocharge the Team You Have 113
Judging and Improving Performance 122
Organizational Thinking 134
Troubleshooting a Dysfunctional Organization 151
Deliver Results and Celebrate Success 152
Summary 153
Tools 153

Chapter 6: Becoming an Effective Programming Manager: Managing Up, Out, and Yourself 155
Managing Up 156
Managing Out 162
Managing Outside the Company 171
Managing Yourself 178
Summary 196
Tools 196

The Challenges of Managing 201
Managing People 229
Managing Teams to Deliver Successfully 263

Chapter 7: Motivating Programmers 289
Motivational Theories 289
Motivational Factors as Applied to Programmers 295
Putting Theory into Practice 300
Foundational Factors–Causes of Dissatisfaction (When Lacking) 301
Key Motivating Factors 324
Personal Commitment 333
Technology Offense and Defense 336
Understanding Your Programmers’ Motivations Begins on Day One 337
Summary 339
Tools 339

Chapter 8: Establishing a Successful Programming Culture 341
Defining “Successful” 342
The Programming Culture 342
Company Culture 343
Characteristics of a Successful Programming Culture 350
Summary 368
Tools 369

Chapter 9: Managing Successful Software Delivery 371
Inspire Purpose 372
Define “Success” 374
Demand Clear Requirements 378
Define “Done” 389
Ballpark the Effort Required 391
Ensure There’s Appropriate Architecture and Design 399
Support the Work 404
Ship It/Go Live! 420
Wrap Up 425
Summary 431
Tools 431

Chapter 10: If You Are Agile, What Do Managers Do? 433
Why Managers May Feel Left Out 434
How Agile Changes Managers’ Roles 436
There Are Management Roles in Agile 438
How Agile Organizational Restructuring Also Changes Managers’ Roles 442
Ten Critical Roles for Agile Managers 443
Summary 472
Tools 473


Index 479
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