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Managing the Unmanageable: Rules, Tools, and Insights for Managing Software People and Teams
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Managing the Unmanageable: Rules, Tools, and Insights for Managing Software People and Teams

3.79  ·  Rating details ·  296 ratings  ·  35 reviews
"Mantle and Lichty have assembled a guide that will help you hire, motivate, and mentor a software development team that functions at the highest level. Their rules of thumb and coaching advice are great blueprints for new and experienced software engineering managers alike." --Tom Conrad, CTO, Pandora "I wish I'd had this material available years ago. I see lots and lot ...more
Paperback, 422 pages
Published October 15th 2012 by Addison-Wesley Professional (first published August 27th 2012)
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Jordan Parmer
Jul 24, 2019 rated it liked it
I'm mixed on this book.

On the plus side, it was a comprehensive book on management. It isn't a leadership book or a guide on how to work up to the next level. This book is exactly what it claims to be: a guide on how to manage software teams. It goes into every facet of management including hiring, managing day-to-day, 1:1's, motivation, project management, etc. What is nice about this book is that it is geared towards software professionals so it deals with problems specific to that domain. If
Lauro Caetano
Aug 06, 2018 rated it it was ok
It was an interesting book, since I am a developer and I could identify with some of the topics. What caught my attention was how we (developers) are perceived by our managers, and that's exactly what I was looking for in this book.

I quite disagree with some of the things mentioned in this books, for instance:

* Remote teams don't work (and later on, they talk about some ways of "Controlling" and "checking" if they are really working)
* They consider contractors as mercenaries, and later on, the
Aug 08, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Hard pass on this. Outdated concepts, outdated language, and all around not awesome. This book has a couple of ideas worth thinking about and bringing into our own practices of software leadership... but...
1. Every pronoun in the whole book is he. There's a preface where they defend this choice, and explain that it would have been too hard to change.
2. Despite assertions to the contrary, this isn't really a book that advocates treating everyone with respect and kindness. (which maybe should have
Wisgary Torres

It helped me think about the right topics, though I disagreed with the content at times. I was at least able to use the book to think about these different subjects and form my own opinions. The most interesting part of the book to me was the comically accurate software development stereotypes at times.
Khalid Almoghrabi
Dec 13, 2016 rated it really liked it
Good book to read for people managing IT teams.
Ryan Kapsar
Mar 26, 2020 rated it it was amazing
If you are new to managing a team this is a must read for you. While the book is intended for managers of programmers (developers, software engineers, etc...) I believe this book applies to just about any sort of creative. Obviously, some sections will be less applicable to architects like the agile sections, but in general, creatives are creatives. The authors, to some extent, recognize this by continually comparing software developers to musicians. Arguing, in fact, that the best programmers a ...more
Julien Sobczak
A good book for better managers, but not great managers.

Almost all people I know having “manager” in their job title have learnt management "on the job." Even if there is nothing fundamentally wrong with learning from our mistakes (we all do it), for managers, mistakes always affect other persons. There must be a better way.

Through this book, co-authors succeeded in sharing their vast experiences, in a highly practical book, full of anecdotes, stories, quotations, and words of wisdom. The book
Jan 01, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have mixed feelings about this book, but overall it had a lot of good content.

Similar to a book I read prior to this, Managing Humans, there was a lot of repeated material... but it felt a bit more noticeable here.

Also, there's a fairly large section that's just filled with quotes and sayings that apply to software, management, etc. that seemed just sort of thrown in to add bulk. Not that some of it wasn't insightful, but many of them were also included in other areas of the book... so I didn'
Vlad Ardelean
Apr 19, 2018 rated it really liked it
My firsr book on such topics. I found it very insightful. Some topics presented were surprising (such as the comparison of different regional programming cultures), others were in tune with general moral intuitions (repeated suggestions for creating a fair culture). Still other topics were - I feel - better applicable in the US ( for instance the salary comparison sites cited didn't have data for eastern Europe).
Overall, I recommend this book for people with not much prior knowledge in the field
Jul 16, 2018 rated it liked it
Above average source of knowledge for anyone interesting in learning the ropes of leading a software development team / delivery. Sadly rather verbose, lacking clear structure and whilst based on experiences shared by several developers, PMs and tech-leads somehow won't leave you much smarter if you have done your time as an apprentice at fairly reasonable shop. Recommended for these looking for a book that they just know theirs managers should read. ;-) ...more
Mar 08, 2020 rated it liked it
The book covers all the areas in IT software development management, which is informative for someone new to such role but not necessary a bible for the experienced. It also seems that the practices are more appropriate for large shops. For others, there are always time and occasions where management of people in this domain have to depend on the individual person, shop or company setup, business environment and culture ... which ends up to be pragmatic when required.
Mike Crittenden
Feb 17, 2021 rated it it was ok
Shelves: educational
Abandoned early on, after they:

- Stereotyped personality types of programmers based on the type of work they do (database vs. systems vs. frontend, etc.) and used that as a way of understanding how to manage each type.
- Stereotyped values of people based on the generation they were born into
- Advised giving "gifted systems engineers" huge amounts of leeway and not forcing them to abide by standard process that everyone else needs to abide by
Guillermo Siliceo Trueba
Apr 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing
After finishing this book i now have a more complete picture of my responsibilities as a engineers manager. Ample tools are provided to solve common problems. Many tips for the day to day are shared.
I’ll keep this book as a reference close to me and check it often when facing challenges described in it. It will be my paper mentor.
Mar 18, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Wish I had read this book years ago, true words on software delivery and management

Pretty good book on managing software teams. Some wise words on customer centricity it that I wish I had read before. Does get a bit verbose on certain points. However, some very inspiring ideas and practices are laid out and easy to put into practice.
Jul 06, 2018 rated it it was ok
I had high hopes for this book, but ended up with disappointement. I picked few quotes, but there is nothing new nor insightful in this book.

If topics regarding working with developers are still interesting for you, I would recommend Joel Spolsky blog articles (also packaged as book).

Benjamin Bryan
Oct 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A great practical book covering just about every area a development manager will need.
Tania Oleksiienko
Nov 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Great wisdom book for IT sphere, although the principles sound pretty universal for other spheres as well
James Hewett
Jan 16, 2019 rated it really liked it
Interesting but outdated
Jul 04, 2019 rated it liked it
The text is just alright, very basic and not very actionable. The tools included with the book which can be downloaded from their website are where the quality content is at.
Alexander Sickert
Feb 22, 2020 rated it it was amazing
my favorite book on managing IT people
Zeljko Cavic
Jan 12, 2021 rated it liked it
There is a lot of real-life examples. Some chapters are (in my opinion) superficial.
Mar 03, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2021
One of the most comprehensive references for managing programmers
Dani Jimenez
Mar 14, 2021 rated it liked it
Mixed feelings with this book. It’s a good reference, it has tons of golden quotes and it tries to get into a lot of different topics. On the other hand, it’s too dense and it over explains quotes.
Jan 27, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
I recieved this book for free from Goodreads First Reads. While I am not in the programming field nor have any interest in this career field I did find this book very informative. It gives a lot of insight into software develepment, writing job descriptions and how much college education you would need to go into this field.
Antti Haapalahti
Dec 28, 2014 rated it really liked it
Summarizes managing a software team / software product in detail fit for newly appointed manager, very applicable also for team leader status, and beneficial read for anyone managing anybody in the programming field of work
Jan 04, 2014 rated it really liked it
Very good book. If you haven't ever developed and have to manage developers this is an excellent book to get a clue. Wish I could have had these guys as supervisors at some point in my career! ...more
Alex Mallet
Decent book, but nothing I hadn't already picked up from other (better) books about (software) management. ...more
Apr 13, 2015 rated it really liked it
Actually pretty useful book. I don't actually have unmanageable developers working for me, but they do have their quirks. ...more
Oct 20, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The first chapter is a bit rough, but the rest is really good. Lots of very nuts and bolts information and advice.
Feb 23, 2016 rated it liked it
Good tips for managing software engineers. (And even non-software engineers too).
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