November 26, 2018

Engineering Management Books of the Trade

In the past couple years, I've read many books that shaped my path as I shifted towards engineering management. In this post, I'd like to share with you the five I've found the most valuable to me so far.

The Manager's Path by Camille Fournier

Camille's excellent book on engineering management mostly builds on her experience with Rent the Runway. She joined the company as a manager without a team, and ended up being the CTO of Rent the Runway.

What I really like about this book is its hands-on nature - there are dedicated sections called "Ask the CTO" and "Good Manager, Bad Manager". Ask the CTO sections are dedicated to discussing specific issues that can come up on each levels of engineering management, while Good Manager, Bad Manager covers common dysfunctions of management and help identifying and overcoming these bad habits.

Radical Candor by Kim Scott

Radical Candor is more than a book - it provides you a framework on how to be a better team player, or boss.

Radical Candor is a simple idea: to be a good boss, you have to Care Personally at the same time that you Challenge Directly. When you challenge without caring it's obnoxious aggression; when you care without challenging it's ruinous empathy. When you do neither it’s manipulative insincerity.

This simple framework can help you build better relationships at work, and fulfill your three key responsibilities as a leader: creating a culture of feedback (praise and criticism), building a cohesive team, and achieving results you’re all proud of.

Managing Humans by Michael Lopp

I've first met with the writings of Rands (Michael Lopp) through his blog, Rands in Repose. His blog explains aspects of technological or corporate culture, with particular focus on techniques for improving management skills. For most of his writings, Rands has great stories that makes the learning a lot of fun!

Managing Humans is a collection of the stories you can find on his blog - with the third edition being released in 2016.

Measure What Matters by John Doerr

Measure What Matters is a great introduction to the world of Objectives and Key Results, OKRs.

The author, John Doerr introduced OKRs to Google, so lots of the examples and stories he writes about are connected to Google, and how they mastered OKRs to drive results. With that said, John brings success stories from startups and nonprofits too, told by their founders, showing that OKRs work at every scale, not just for Google.

Accelerate by Nicole Forsgren

This book tries to answer this question: "How can we apply technology to drive business value?"

Through four years of research, Nicole Forsgren, Jez Humble, and Gene Kim set out to find a way to measure software delivery performance―and what drives it―using statistical methods. This book presents both the findings and the science behind that research, making the information accessible for you to apply in your organizations.

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