: New: Book Report: Scaling Teams

It's a book about managing and directing software developers. It's pretty good. It has a bag of tricks; it tells you which tricks are appropriate for which situations; it tells you symptoms of those situations so you know what you're dealing with.

I read a lot of management/business books for a non-manager. Did I ever tell you how that started? I was working at Geoworks, my first job out of school. For a while, a few of the more enthusiastic managers there started speaking weird jargon. They'd read a popular business book of the day, were trying to apply its lessons. That book was Thriving on Chaos, meant to help stodgy manufacturing companies adopt more adaptable processes. It didn't have so much advice that applied to our situation, but I'm still glad I read it. The next time someone told me my group should do something from the book, I could understand what they said and reply We already do that (but with the right Thriving jargon).

Dave Loftesness worked at Geoworks and got to see those eager-to-apply-techniques-willy-nilly managers running around. And then he went on to lead a bunch of folks there, including me. And then at a bunch of other places. Along the way, he figured out that a trick that works in one situation can backfire in another. When he co-wrote a book about managing/directing teams at a place going through growing pains, it's not just a one-size-fits-all set of to-dos. It's a set of things that can go wrong with directions on how to put them right.(Which can lead to other things going wrong, of course. You need more people, so you recruit people… and now those people step on each others' toes so you have to figure out how to organize them…) It's good stuff.

I kind of wish I hadn't got this book on Kindle; there are multi-column tables that didn't fit so well on my tiny Kindle screen.

Tags: book teams business

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