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Managing Humans: Biting and Humorous Tales of a Software Engineering Manager, Second Edition

Book Description

The humor and insights in the 2nd Edition of Managing Humans are drawn from Michael Lopp's management experiences at Apple, Netscape, Symantec, and Borland, among others. This book is full of stories based on companies in the Silicon Valley where people have been known to yell at each other and occasionally throw chairs. 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 the future and bank accounts of many others. 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—and help you survive and prosper amongst the general craziness.

Lopp's straight-from-the-hip style is unlike any other writer on management. He pulls no punches and tells stories he probably shouldn't. But they are massively instructive and cut to the heart of the matter whether it's dealing with your boss, handling a slacker, hiring top guns, or seeing a knotty project through to completion.

This second editions expands on the management essentials. It will explain why we hate meetings, but must have them, it carefully documents the right way to have a 1-on-1, and it documents the perils of not listening to your team.

Writing code is easy. Managing humans is not. You need a book to help you do it, and this is it.

What you'll learn

  • How to lead geeks

  • How to handle conflict

  • How to hire well

  • How to motivate employees

  • How to manage your boss

  • How to say no

  • How to handle stressed people freaking out

  • How to improve your social IQ

  • How to run a meeting well

  • And much more

  • 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 bytes 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. Titlepage
    2. Dedication
    3. Contents
    4. About the Author
    5. Acknowledgments
    6. Preface to the Second Edition
    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 Is He Compensating for His Blind Spots?
        5. Does Your Manager Speak the Language?
        6. How Does Your Manager Talk to You?
        7. How Much Action per Decision?
        8. Where Is Your Manager in the Political Food Chain?
        9. What Happens When They Lose Their Shit?
        10. The Big Finish
      3. Chapter 3: The Rands Test
        1. The Rands Test: 11 Possible Points
        2. Magnitude and Direction
      4. Chapter 4: How to Run a Meeting
        1. Alignment vs. Creation
        2. A Culture of Meetings
      5. Chapter 5: The Twinge
        1. Twinge Acquisition
        2. Twinges: Built on Experience
        3. A Manager’s Day: Full of Stories
        4. A Familiar Nail
        5. A Twinge Catastrophe
        6. Just Another Nail
      6. Chapter 6: The Update, the Vent, and the Disaster
        1. The Basics
        2. How Are You?
        3. The Update
        4. The Vent
        5. The Disaster
        6. Assume They Have Something to Teach You
      7. Chapter 7: 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
      8. Chapter 8: Lost in Translation
        1. Wallace Hates Me
        2. The Fall Is Not the Lesson
        3. Your Instincts Are 100 Percent Wrong
        4. The Size of the Lesson
      9. Chapter 9: Agenda Detection
        1. Meeting Bail Tip #1: Identify the Type of Meeting
        2. Meeting Bail Tip #2: Classify the Participants
        3. Meeting Bail Tip #3: Identify the Players
        4. Meeting Bail Tip #4: Identify the Pros and Cons
        5. Meeting Bail Tip #5: Figure Out the Issue
        6. Meeting Bail Tip #6: Give the Cons What They Want
        7. Meeting Bail Tip #7: Figure Out the Issue
        8. Conclusion
      10. Chapter 10: Dissecting the Mandate
        1. Decide
        2. Deliver
        3. Deliver (Again)
        4. Foreign Mandates
      11. Chapter 11: Information Starvation
        1. Information Conduit
        2. Nature Abhors a Vacuum
        3. Starvation Prevention
        4. Aggressive Silence
      12. Chapter 12: Subtlety, Subterfuge, and Silence
        1. Subtlety
        2. Subterfuge
        3. Silence
        4. Business Isn’t War
      13. Chapter 13: Managementese
        1. Management Metaphors
        2. Language of the Lazy
        3. The “Bottom Line”
      14. Chapter 14: Fred Hates the Off-Site
        1. Why I Get in Fred’s Face
        2. Who We Are, What We Need, and Our Epic Journey
        3. A Meeting with Certain Characteristics
        4. What Fred Really Hates
      15. Chapter 15: A Different Kind of DNA
        1. No Ticker-Tape Parade
        2. Five Kinds of Win
        3. Flat Is a State of Mind
      16. Chapter 16: An Engineering Mindset
        1. Wrong?
        2. Remove Yourself from the Code, But . . .
        3. Don’t Stop Developing
      17. Chapter 17: Three Superpowers
        1. Three Superpowers
        2. My Favorite Superpower
      18. Chapter 18: 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 19: 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 20: How to Start
        1. A Critical Analysis of Beginning
        2. Morning Stretch
        3. An Experienced Evening
        4. Happenstance
      3. Chapter 21: Taking Time to Think
        1. Reacting vs. Thinking
        2. Getting Started
        3. When to Stop
        4. Fighting Stagnation
      4. Chapter 22: The Value of the Soak
        1. Emotion and Ignorance
        2. Active Soaking
        3. Passive Soaking
        4. Soaking Takes Time
      5. Chapter 23: Managing Malcolm Events
        1. We’re in a Hurry
        2. Understanding Malcolm Events
        3. Artifacts
        4. Binders
        5. Success Is Often Silence
      6. Chapter 24: Capturing Context
        1. So What?
        2. Nerd Disclosure
      7. Chapter 25: Trickle Theory
        1. Our Villain
        2. Nothing Happens Until You Start
        3. Iterate
        4. Mix It Up
        5. Entropy Always Wins
      8. Chapter 26: When the Sky Falls
        1. Step 1: The Situation in the War Room
        2. Step 2: The “Bet Your Car” Perspective
        3. Step 3: Constant and Consistent Sky-Propping Pressure
        4. The Elusive Step 0
      9. Chapter 27: Hacking Is Important
        1. “Hackers Believe Something Can Always Be Better”
        2. Where’s Dieter?
        3. Unintentionally Forgetting What It Took to Get You There
    9. Part III: Versions of You
      1. Chapter 28: Bored People Quit
        1. Detecting Boredom
        2. A Boredom Plan of Action
        3. Don’t Forget What It’s Like to Build a Thing
      2. Chapter 29: 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
      3. Chapter 30: The Ninety-Day Interview
        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 31: Managing Nerds
        1. A Worst-Case Scenario
        2. A Problem
        3. Chasing the Two Highs
        4. The Nerd Burden
      5. Chapter 32: NADD
        1. A Nerd Diagnosis
        2. The Context Switch
        3. Leveraging NADD
        4. Downsides
      6. Chapter 33: A Nerd in a Cave
        1. The Cave
        2. The Zone
        3. The Snap
        4. The Place
        5. Other Places
      7. Chapter 34: 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 35: Incrementalists and Completionists
        1. Somewhere in the Middle
        2. Two Different Coffee Addictions
        3. See It Yet?
      9. Chapter 36: Organics and Mechanics
        1. The Itch Perspective
        2. The Answer Is in the Middle
      10. Chapter 37: Inwards, Outwards, and Holistics
        1. The Vision Hierarchy
        2. Agenda Confusion
        3. Watch for Growth
      11. Chapter 38: Free Electrons
        1. Care and Feeding
        2. Back to Jerry
      12. Chapter 39: 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 40: An Unexpected Connection
        1. Two Buckets
        2. The Value of Relevance
        3. To Wit
        4. Connecting the Relevant
      14. Chapter 41: Avoiding the Fez
        1. Understanding Where You Stand
        2. Annual Reviews, Briefly
        3. What’s Really on Their Minds
        4. First, Gather Your Thoughts, but Don’t Think (Yet)
        5. Skill vs. Will Plus Epiphanies
        6. Assertiveness, Briefly
        7. Big Finish
      15. Chapter 42: A Glimpse and a Hook
        1. The First Pass
        2. The Second Pass
        3. Differentiate, Don’t Annoy
        4. A Glimpse and a Hook
      16. Chapter 43: Nailing the Phone Screen
        1. The Purpose
        2. Your Job Is to Prepare
        3. Back to the Beginning
        4. The Close
      17. Chapter 44: Your Resignation Checklist
        1. Rule #1: Don’t Promise What You Can’t Do
        2. Rule #2: Respect Your Network
        3. Rule #3: Update “The Crew”
        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
    10. Glossary
    11. Index