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Growing Software: Proven Strategies for Managing Software Engineers Paperback – March 15, 2009
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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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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.)
It cover a lot of aspects that a development manager has to deal with in his growing organization.
Overall a great resource maybe at sometime a little outdated.
Some areas of the book like estimation, scheduling - looks light and I lost interest - could be 2 reasons, I do not like estimation, since it is not a true science OR may be the author was not good enough in explaining and exploring this facet of S/W Development.
However as I mentioned liked the first 4-5 chapters
New managers - go and get 'first, break all the rules' - it will teach you something you dont already know, and is backed up by hard research.
The book is sectioned into these topics:
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.
Managing a development team
Creating an effective development team
Growing a software team
Defining the product
Evaluating your tools and methods
Assessing your technology
Working with your company
Working with the CEO and the executive team
Listening to your customers
Starting a project
Project execution and tracking
Designing a software development process
Understanding quality assurance
Setting the direction
Product roadmap and strategy
This book would be a great resource for anyone involved in administration in a company, from a newly recruited team leader to the CEO. There are so many practical issues clearly stated with suggested resolutions there isn't room to detail them all.
There is an 11 page index. There are detailed subheadings for each chapter, which makes finding a particular section or topic very easy. Each chapter has references for those who desire to do additional research into a topic.
The author has a new web site to support the book, [...] Short discussions regarding resolution of management difficulties are posted on the web site.
Highly recommended. One of the best books I've read on the topic.