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Growing Software: Proven Strategies for Managing Software Engineers Paperback – March 15, 2009


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Growing Software: Proven Strategies for Managing Software Engineers + Peopleware: Productive Projects and Teams (3rd Edition) + The Mythical Man-Month: Essays on Software Engineering, Anniversary Edition (2nd Edition)
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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Louis Testa is Senior Engineering Manager at Galois, a small company that specializes in high-assurance software. He received his BS (with honors) in Engineering from Caltech and his MS EE from the University of California, Berkeley. He has managed engineering teams for over 20 years, and his papers have been featured at many technology conferences. He blogs at www.gspractices.com.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 424 pages
  • Publisher: No Starch Press; 1 edition (March 15, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1593271832
  • ISBN-13: 978-1593271831
  • Product Dimensions: 7 x 1 x 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #436,433 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

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See all 8 customer reviews
Another thing that irks me are the little vignettes scattered throughout the book.
Mark H
This book provides a proven approach to dealing with these issues in an organized and practical way, and provides many real-world examples of both success and failure.
John Jacobson
If you are a development manager in a small, growing company, you will be judged by the work and results of your development team.
Krzysztof Satola

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Ira Laefsky VINE VOICE on March 26, 2009
Format: Paperback
This uniquely pragmatic guide to managing software development in the startup or growing firm, is an "in-the-trenches book" detailing the necessary,useful and extraneous practices, tools, and documentation which govern the successful management of software projects. The author is both a graduate of Caltech and Berkeley and the possessor of 20 years of hard earned experience in the management of technology and software development projects. He provides templates and spreadsheets for the documentation his methodology requires. He is an advocate of moderate but carefully scoped tools and documentation, often preferring (on the basis of experience) simple spreadsheets and Gantt charts over more sophisticated project management tools. This book offers a careful balance between the best communication, management and coaching methods, for members of the software team, interaction with marketing and CXO executives and the software and paper tools which contribute to the success of a software development effort. Caveats and advice such as, "When the Sales Team Overpromises", and "Where the Waterfall model is better than Agile methods" speak to the author's experience with the real world issues of technology development in the growing firm. This is "the book" you need for successful management of software projects in the startup or moderately sized firm.

--Ira Laefsky
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Mark H on May 15, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Based on the subtitle of the book, I anticipated more information about the unique challenges of managing software engineers, but the focuses a lot more on managing software *projects*.

For example: managing egos, mediating conflicts, creating a productive work environment, incentivizing (beyond just money), and measuring results.

But the book focuses more on what steps to take if you were to take the helm at a small company: who to talk to, what plans to make, and documentation to gather, etc.

Another thing that irks me are the little vignettes scattered throughout the book. These are supposed to be real-life experiences related to that particular chapter's content. But there are no names attached (people or companies) and the stories are so vague that they don't feel real at all. I like writing where people refer to people and places that we've all heard of. (See Joel Spolsky's story about meeting Bill Gates when he worked on the Excel team.)

Otherwise, it's a fine book, just not what I had expected. (And I think the title is a bit misleading.)
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By John Jacobson on April 5, 2009
Format: Paperback
This is a great book! It is written for the new development manager, perhaps temporarily inserted into a management position because there is no one else to do it. With the new position come new responsibilities, new pressures, a different work flow . . . The situation can be overwhelming. This book provides a proven approach to dealing with these issues in an organized and practical way, and provides many real-world examples of both success and failure.

The book is sectioned into these topics:

Development team
Product and technology
Outside of engineering
Making work flow, process, projects and qualtiy
Planning for the future

The author deals with company size in discussing planning for successful projects, from the one person company to the company with over 100 employees.

There is a strong emphasis on developing people skills, learning the culture of the company, and discovering the process of decision making in the company. Concrete examples of the requirements for planning projects, including technical tools that are helpful, are scattered throughout the book. One of the features of the book I particularly appreciated was the "real life accounts" scattered through the book, statements from software engineers discussing situations they'd faced in companies, and the pros and cons of how they were handled.

Here is a listing of the chapters, this gives an idea of the breadth of information contained in this book.
Read more ›
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Krzysztof Satola on June 9, 2009
Format: Paperback
As you all probably know results matter. If you are a development manager in a small, growing company, you will be judged by the work and results of your development team. Your team must deliver quality software on time on budget and that software will have to please your customers.

At first this book seems to be like other management books but one thing makes it really different. Growing Software is written for managers working in small companies. In fact it is about managing software engineers in a small firm. Luis Testa shows many interesting aspects of working in small environments as oppossed to corporate ones. In small companies development managers have more influence on processes and workflows and as a result in a product definition. In small companies approaches must be systematic, simple and relatively straighforward. This book is about how to start and avoid common pitfals.

I work as a software architect managing software development team in a small company. For me this book is a nice, well written guide. It is an advice offer about how to succeed when faced with diverse challenges. It is about managing techniques, professional ethics and building relationships with other company's sections like Marketing or Sales. It also helps to understand and care about relations with other managers, CEO and team members.

As I said earlier there are many good books about managing engineering teams and processes of these teams but this book's greatest value is focusing on how things work in small companies that want to succeed. I definetely recommend this book especially if you manage an engineering team in a small company.
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