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Crash Course: Managing Software People and Teams (IEEE, 4.4.13)


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"We'd like you to manage the team now." That's about as much introduction - and training - as many of us get before our first day managing. Often preceded only by, "You're a great programmer and you've got some people skills." But while programming cred and facility with people are helpful qualifications, what do you really need to know to manage well? What makes a manager great? What are the qualities that meld teams and deliver great software? Those are among the questions that led Ron Lichty and his co-author Mickey W. Mantle to write "Managing the Unmanageable: Rules, Tools, and Insights for Managing Software People and Teams" (Addison-Wesley, September), now available for pre-order online. In this interactive session, we'll examine the great managers each of us has experienced, and the qualities, skills, finesse and gifts of greatness that made them stand out. We'll talk about "the rest of the job": managing up, managing out, and other aspects of being a seasoned manager that reports mostly don't see. And you'll take away a few best practices that take most managers years to discover.

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Crash Course: Managing Software People and Teams (IEEE, 4.4.13)

  1. 1. Crash Course:Managing People and Teams Ron Lichty, Ron Lichty Consulting
  2. 2. Ron Lichty,Managing Software People & Teams SOFTWEST
  3. 3. Why we wrote: * * Addison Wesley published October 1, 2012
  4. 4. Rules of Thumb / Nuggets of Wisdom*• Measure twice, cut once.• Life is simpler when you plow around the stump.• Brooks’s Law: Adding manpower to a late software project makes it later. – Frederick P. Brooks Jr.* 300 in the book
  5. 5. Agenda• Managing Down• Motivating• Recruiting• Handling Problem Employees• Shielding Your Team• Managing Out and Up• Establishing Culture• Communicating• So Why Manage?• Q&A
  6. 6. Managing Down• Best manager you ever had? • Skills • Behaviors • Finesse • Gifts of greatness. . . that made them stand out?
  7. 7. Managing Down: Nugget of Wisdom• Nothing undermines your credibility as a manager more completely than pounding on your team all year to get their work done on time and then telling them you don’t have their reviews done because you were busy. Whatever you were busy with likely wasn’t managing your people, so you’ve just proven to them that they don’t matter. Good luck motivating them next year. – Tim Swihart, engineering director, Apple Computer
  8. 8. Managing Down: ChallengesRule of Thumb:The very thing that has made you successful will get in yourway in your next role.•Manage•Delegate•Be a Motivator•Don’t Be a De-Motivator
  9. 9. Motivators vs De-Motivators
  10. 10. Motivating: Be Careful What You Reward• “Behavior revolves around what you measure.” – Jim Highsmith• “Firefighters who get rewarded carry matches.” – Kimberly Wiefling• Do you define “done” as “coding complete”? – Or as features that delight customers?
  11. 11. Recruiting• A manager’s most important job• Give it the priority it deserves• Always be recruiting• There’s no perfect record
  12. 12. Handling Problem Employees• Intervention beats performance plans & firing – Requires preparation, commitment, time – But gets the job done earlier:• One of two results: – Turns them around – Manages them out—Marty Brounstein: Handling the Difficult Employee
  13. 13. Shielding Your Team• Threat to your team – Torrent of politics, “opportunities”, issues – Sap your team’s focus• Challenge for you – Be a conduit for Mission and Passion and Strategy – While shielding your team from distractionBe a damper to the noise. --Joe Kleinschmidt, CTO
  14. 14. Managing Out and Up• “The single most important leader in an organization is your immediate supervisor.” – Jim Kouzes• “You can safely assume all perceptions are real, at least to those who own them.” – Joe Folkman
  15. 15. Managing Out & Up• Because – your peers increasingly are not technical – and your boss may not be either• …they’ll pressure you – to micromanage your team (or let them) – to report on / prove your team’s productivity – to fill your team’s plates to capacity
  16. 16. Productivity• The Apple Lisa team’s managers had asked engineers to report, each week, how many lines of code they’d written. The first week, Bill Atkinson turned his attention to making QuickDraw faster and more efficient, reducing the previous week’s code by 2,000 lines. He duly reported that he’d written minus-2,000 lines of code for the week.
  17. 17. Capacity• Slack is critical to throughput – 100% capacity results in bottlenecks --photo (c) Bud Adams, SXC,
  18. 18. Establishing Culture• Does your company live its values?• Programming culture ≠ corporate culture – Wall parts off – Substitute and bolster more appropriate values• Wherever you can, leverage culture & values
  19. 19. Establishing Culture• “Publicly reward or acknowledge engineers who act in a way that supports the culture that you want to create.” —Juanita Mah, engineering manager
  20. 20. Communicating• You have to communicate more• Encourage your team to communicate• Create a culture of communication – at every level – with everyone • up, down, within and across• “We have two ears and one mouth. Use them in this ratio.” — Kimberly Wiefling
  21. 21. So Why Manage?• You get to go broad – Affect more of the product – Affect more of the customer experience• You get to be more in the conversation• You get to mentor and coach and motivate – A whole team – To become something more
  22. 22. A Few Closing Rules of Thumb• If you’re a people manager, your people are far more important than anything else you’re working on. —Tim Swihart, Engineering Director• Projects should be run like marathons. You have to set a healthy pace that can win the race and expect to sprint for the finish line. —Ed Catmull, CTO, Pixar Animation Studios• In applications with high technical debt, estimating is nearly impossible. —Jim Highsmith, Agile Coach and Leader• The quality of code you demand during the first week of a project is the quality of code you’ll get every week thereafter. —Joseph Kleinschmidt, CTO, Leverage Software
  23. 23. Ron Lichty Consulting• Mentoring and Coaching and Consulting: –• The book: Managing the Unmanageable: Rules, Tools & Insights for Managing Software People & Teams –• Training: forthcoming: – “The Agile Manager” – “Managing Software People and Teams: the class” (Email me through the site above and I’ll let you know when.)