Management books developers should read, too

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I’ve grown a lot over the last year at my job. Things are never really the same for long, and I’ve had a ton of different challenges to tackle – both on the technical side, but in a growing proportion on the side of people management and technical leadership, too.

So I wanted to share some of the books I’ve loved over the last year, which I would recommend even to developers who aren’t currently managing people or projects.

Because just maybe, they’ll help you manage yourself better or help you develop some empathy for your manager 😉

The One Minute Manager Meets the Monkey

By Kenneth H. Blanchard

This book is for managers who feel like they don’t have enough time to do all the things they need to do. In short, it’s about how to delegate responsibly and help people grow into solving their own problems instead of constantly “giving you their monkey”. Funny and light-hearted, you can read this in a weekend. Pick this up if you find yourself taking on more than you can handle.

Reading time: One weekend

Inspired: How To Create Tech Products Customers Love

By Marty Cagan

2018 was the year I really developed a respect for the field of product management. A big part of that was myself trying to play product manager and realizing how hard it was, and how much I needed help. Even if you are a developer, gaining an deeper understanding and appreciation of product management will make you a more valuable team member.

Reading time: Two weekends

The Manager’s Path: A Guide for Tech Leaders Navigating Growth and Change

By Camille Fournier

Whether you’re a manager or not, if you are thinking about becoming one, this is a fantastic book to read through. Some people might imagine that managers get to make all the decisions or are part of all the interesting meetings – when in fact, a lot of our job is just getting people to talk to each other and repeating the same message five times until it sticks. Read this book if you think you might want to go into management but aren’t sure what to expect.

Reading time: Two weekends

High Output Management

By Andy Grove

This is a management classic, and one I re-read this year. The short story is: if you are a manager and the team isn’t performing, it’s your fault. Which is tough to swallow sometimes! Written by the long-time CEO of Intel, Andy Grove, this book covers all kinds of things from how to give good performance reviews and feedback to what a day in the life of a CEO even looks like. It’s a classic for a reason, and you’ll be inspired by the author’s story of rising through the ranks of Intel and his many years of management wisdom.

Reading time: A few weekends

Measure What Matters

By John Doerr

Honestly the book is a bit salesy, but the takeaways are still pretty good. You don’t need to read the entire book to get the message, but at least the first half is worth reading if your company uses OKRs (Objectives and Key Results) to set goals and measure success. Sometimes the author is laying it on a bit thick about how OKRs can fix all your problems (spoiler alert: humans still implement OKRs, it is imperfect) but I do like the OKR methodology.

Reading time: Two weekends

Currently Reading

Those were the books on this topic I read (or re-read) in the last year. Here are the two I’m starting my new year off with:

The Coaching Habit: Say Less, Ask More & Change the Way You Lead Forever

By Michael Bungay Stanier

I’m reading this book right now, and somehow in the last few days I’ve meet numerous people who’ve also read and loved this book. It’s super practical: seven questions you can ask to help the people you’re leading coaching to help them discover solutions on their own.

Radical Candor: Be a Kick-Ass Boss Without Losing Your Humanity

By Kim Scott

I’m pretty sure this is the current “bible” of a lot of people working in tech leadership. I’ve only just started after watching Kim’s talk on radical candor which encouraged me to have some tough conversations for the good of people around me and our relationships.

Got a great tech management or leadership book recommendation? You can tweet it at me @monicalent.

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