- Series: Pragmatic Programmers
- Paperback: 172 pages
- Publisher: Pragmatic Bookshelf; 1 edition (September 29, 2005)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 9780976694021
- ISBN-13: 978-0976694021
- ASIN: 0976694026
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.6 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 50 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #58,549 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Behind Closed Doors: Secrets of Great Management (Pragmatic Programmers) 1st Edition
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""Rothman and Derby bring a clarity and honesty to the craft of software-development management that I haven't felt since first reading Demarco and Lister's classic, Peopleware. Their story-based teaching style is engaging, and the tips contained provide a valuable reference for those who find themselves in the world of management.""--Bil Kleb, Research Scientist, NASA
""Five Star Review: All the great stuff is here... Easy to read and understand.""""
--Robert Pritchett, macCompanion
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In that capacity and at that level, the book is great. The examples are fine at this level, but hopelessly simplistic if you try to get just a bit deeper. They also start showing their age: a strict hierarchy, where a Manager sits in his office and divines the decrees on their lieutenants is no longer as pervasive, especially in the technology field.
Still, it is a great tool for a new manager to avoid most common pitfalls when it comes to dealing with both a team of people, a bunch of projects and a product strategy. I cannot say I've discovered anything eye opening when reading it, but it was a nice refresher of the basics.
Bottom line: not the "be all, end all" books on management, but it gives a good advice and is a good starter for those new to management.
The format of the book is great. You are guided through the concepts by following a fictitious great manager to watch how he approached leading his team to success. Based on my experience in a Fortune 200 company, the characters and situations all ring true. There is also a useful table in the book that breaks down how much management tasks take based on how many people that report to you, which was really eye opening, especially for new managers that feel like they aren't getting any "work of their own done." Another concept I especially enjoyed was the Affinity Grouping strategy for brainstorming. This is the first book I've read by this author, and I will definitely be reading more based on this one.
* I setup one-on-one's with by boss.
* I got better at prioritizing my work, which made me more productive.
* I finally figured out how to set reasonable expectations with the sales team.
* I began developing mentoring relationships between my peers.
It wasn't long before I found myself earning more and more responsibility. I became an unofficial leader at the company. When my boss finally asked what my secret was, I pointed to Behind Closed Doors on my bookshelf and told him I'd been trying a few things from it.
After reading the book himself, my boss went out and bought enough copies for the entire management team at our company and handed them out. On my next review I got a VERY nice raise, and was promoted to manager.
Five years later, I still reference the book occasionally. Whether its to figure out how to improve a meeting thats usefulness has become questionable, or to step-in and save an ailing project, or to coach an unhappy team member, the book is a great source of solid, well reasoned approaches to difficult problems.
I recommend this book to anyone looking to improve themselves and their peers professionally, even if you're not in management but especially if you are.
Overall, there are many positive points to this book, including a fresh perspective, enjoyable to read prose, and especially the 13 key techniques. For new managers, I would definitely recommend this book. For experienced managers, it might serve as a decent review of the fundamentals, but it probably won't be a huge help.
By the end, I was convinced by the premise of the book that it is a good idea to examine and expose those management engagements that we don't typically see so that if we didn't have great managers early in our careers, we could still learn from one (even if he is factitious). The philosophy that underpinned it is also one that I largely agreed with, though more emphasis on hiring, retaining, and empowering great employees, I think, was warranted.