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MANAGING HUMANS: BITING AND HUMOROUS TALES OF A SOFTWARE ENGINEERING MANAGER

Book Description

Managing Humans is a selection of the best essays from Michael Lopp's web site, Rands in Repose. Drawing on Lopp's management experiences at Apple, Netscape, Symantec, and Borland, this book is full of stories based on companies in the Silicon Valley where people have been known to yell at each other. It is a place full of dysfunctional bright people who are in an incredible hurry to find the next big thing so they can strike it rich and then do it all over again. Among these people are managers, a strange breed of people who through a mystical organizational ritual have been given power over your future and your bank account.

Whether you're an aspiring manager, a current manager, or just wondering what the heck a manager does all day, there is a story in this book that will speak to you.

What you'll learn

  • What to do when people start yelling at each other

  • How to perform a diving save when the best engineer insists on resigning

  • How to say "no" to the person who signs your paycheck

Who this book is for

This book is designed for managers and would-be managers staring at the role of a manager wondering why they would ever leave the safe world of bits and bites for the messy world of managing humans. The book covers handling conflict, managing wildly differing personality types, infusing innovation into insane product schedules, and figuring out how to build a lasting and useful engineering culture.

Table of Contents

  1. Title Page
  2. Dedication
  3. Contents
  4. About the Author
  5. Acknowledgments
  6. Preface
  7. PART I: THE MANAGEMENT QUIVER
    1. CHAPTER 1: Don't Be a Prick
    2. CHAPTER 2: Managers Are Not Evil
      1. There Is Evil
      2. Your Manager's Job
      3. Where Does Your Manager Come From?
      4. How Are They Compensating for Their Blind Spots?
      5. Does Your Manager Speak the Language?
      6. How Does Your Manager Talk to You?
      7. How Much Action per Decision?
      8. The New Guy
      9. What Happens When They Lose Their Shit?
      10. The Big Finish
    3. CHAPTER 3: The Monday Freakout
      1. Don't Participate in the Freakout
      2. Give the Freak the Benefit of the Doubt
      3. Hammer the Freak with Questions
      4. Get the Freaks to Solve Their Own Problems
      5. You Still Have a Problem
    4. CHAPTER 4: Agenda Detection
      1. Meeting Bail Tip #1: Identify the Players
      2. Meeting Bail Tip #2: Identify the Pros and Cons
      3. Meeting Bail Tip #3: Figure Out the Issue
    5. CHAPTER 5: Mandate Dissection
      1. Decide
      2. Deliver
      3. Deliver (Again)
      4. Foreign Mandates
    6. CHAPTER 6: Information Starvation
      1. Information Conduit
      2. Nature Abhors a Vacuum
      3. Starvation Prevention
      4. Aggressive Silence
    7. CHAPTER 7: Subtlety, Subterfuge, and Silence
      1. Subtlety
      2. Subterfuge
      3. Silence
      4. Business Isn't War
    8. CHAPTER 8: Managementese
      1. Management Metaphors
      2. Language of the Lazy
    9. CHAPTER 9: Technicality
      1. Wrong?
      2. Stop Coding?
      3. One Absolute
    10. CHAPTER 10: Avoiding the Fez
      1. Understanding Where You Stand
      2. Getting Started
      3. Annual Reviews, Briefly
      4. First, Gather Your Thoughts, But Don't Think (Yet)
      5. Skill vs. Will Plus Epiphanies
      6. Assertiveness, Briefly
      7. Big Finish
    11. CHAPTER 11: Your Resignation Checklist
      1. Rule #1: Don't Promise What You Can't Do
      2. Rule #2: Respect Your Network
      3. Rule #3: Update Your Rolodex
      4. Rule #4: Don't Take Cheap Shots
      5. Rule #5: Do Right by Those Who Work for You and with You
      6. Rule #6: Don't Volunteer to Do Work After You Leave (or, if You Do, Make Sure You Get a Lot of Money for It)
      7. Rule #7: Don't Give Too Much Notice
      8. They Know
    12. CHAPTER 12: Saying No
      1. Managers Lose It
      2. Losing It
      3. Recovering It
      4. Never Trust a Pixie
  8. PART II: THE PROCESS IS THE PRODUCT
    1. CHAPTER 13: 1.0
      1. Understanding 1.0
      2. Rands 1.0 Hierarchy
      3. Pitch
      4. People
      5. Process
      6. Product
      7. Using the Pyramid
      8. Building Culture
    2. CHAPTER 14: Taking Time to Think
      1. Reacting vs. Thinking
      2. Getting Started
      3. When to Stop
      4. Fighting Stagnation
    3. CHAPTER 15: The Soak
      1. Emotion and Ignorance
      2. Active Soaking
      3. Passive Soaking
      4. Soaking Takes Time
    4. CHAPTER 16: Malcolm Events
      1. We're in a Hurry
      2. Understanding Malcolm Events
      3. Artifacts
      4. Binders
      5. Success Is Often Silence
    5. CHAPTER 17: Capturing Context
      1. So What?
      2. Nerd Disclosure
    6. CHAPTER 18: Status Reports 2.0
      1. Know Your Audience
      2. The Three-Tiered Fix
    7. CHAPTER 19: Trickle Theory
      1. Our Villain
      2. Nothing Happens Until You Start
      3. Iterate
      4. Mix It Up
      5. Entropy Always Wins
  9. PART III: VERSIONS OF YOU
    1. CHAPTER 20: A Glimpse and a Hook
      1. The First Pass
      2. The Second Pass
      3. Differentiate, Don't Annoy
      4. A Glimpse and a Hook
    2. CHAPTER 21: Nailing the Phone Screen
      1. The Purpose
      2. Your Job Is to Prepare
      3. Back to the Beginning
      4. The Close
    3. CHAPTER 22: Ninety Days
      1. Deliberation
      2. 1. Stay Late, Show Up Early
      3. 2. Accept Every Lunch Invitation You Get
      4. 3. Always Ask About Acronyms
      5. 4. Say Something Really Stupid
      6. 5. Have a Drink
      7. 6. Tell Someone What to Do
      8. 7. Have an Argument
      9. 8. Find Your Inner Circle
      10. Finishing the Interview
    4. CHAPTER 23: Bellwethers
      1. The Core Interview Team
      2. Technical
      3. Cultural
      4. Vision (Strategic or Tactical?)
      5. Team Consensus
      6. Be a Fool
      7. Still Delusional
    5. CHAPTER 24: NADD
      1. A Nerd Diagnosis
      2. The Context Switch
      3. Leveraging NADD
      4. Downsides
    6. CHAPTER 25: A Nerd in a Cave
      1. The Cave
      2. The Zone
      3. The Snap
      4. The Place
      5. Other Places
    7. CHAPTER 26: Meeting Creatures
      1. The Anchor
      2. Laptop Larry
      3. Mr. Irrelevant
      4. Chatty Patty
      5. Translator Tim
      6. Sally Synthesizer
      7. Curveball Kurt
      8. The Snake
    8. CHAPTER 27: Incrementalists and Completionists
      1. Somewhere in the Middle
      2. Coffee Addictions
      3. See It Yet?
    9. CHAPTER 28: Organics and Mechanics
      1. The Itch Perspective
      2. The Answer Is in the Middle
    10. CHAPTER 29: Inwards, Outwards, and Holistics
      1. The Vision Hierarchy
      2. Agenda Confusion
      3. Watch for Growth
    11. CHAPTER 30: Free Electrons
      1. Care and Feeding
      2. Back to Jerry
    12. CHAPTER 31: Rules for the Reorg
      1. Rule #1: Figure Out Your Role
      2. Rule #2: People Are Paranoid
      3. Rule #3: The Grapevine Gone Mad
      4. Rule #4: Reorgs Take Forever
      5. Rule #5: Most Folks Love Reorgs (But Hate to Admit It)
      6. The Only Rule: Patience
    13. CHAPTER 32: Offshore Risk Factor
      1. Personal Risk Factor
      2. Organizational Risk Factor
      3. Still Sweating?
    14. CHAPTER 33: Joe
      1. Key Exports
      2. Interfacing with Humans Pays Big Bucks
      3. Our Peculiar Accent
    15. CHAPTER 34: Secret Titles
  10. Glossary
  11. Index