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What's It Take to Be a (Good!) Manager

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Managing programmers is hard! Becoming a successful manager requires a drastic change of focus.

The transition from programmer to manager is made particularly challenging by the dramatic difference between what made us successful as programmers and what it takes to successfully manage others. In addition, programmers are an interesting management challenge. We tend to be free spirits, playful, curious, and (very) independent.

What’s management really about? What differentiates success as a manager? What's it mean to manage in the era of agile? How do you prioritize? What constitutes great management?

Presenter is Ron Lichty, who co-authored the Addison-Wesley tutorial and reference, Managing the Unmanageable: Rules, Tools, and Insights for Managing Software People and Teams - http://www.ManagingTheUnmanageable.net. Compared by reviewers to software development classics, The Mythical Man-Month and Peopleware, the content is now also available as video training, LiveLessons: Managing Software People and Teams, http://www.ManagingTheUnmanageable.net/video.html. Ron aspires to make software development better worldwide by advancing the practice of software development management.

Ron has been alternating between consulting with and managing software development and product organizations for 25 years, almost all of those spent untangling the knots in software development and transforming chaos to clarity, the last 20 of those in the era of Agile. Originally a programmer, he earned several patents and wrote two popular programming books before being hired into his first management role by Apple Computer, which nurtured his managerial growth in both development and product management roles.

Principal and owner of Ron Lichty Consulting, Inc. (www.RonLichty.com), Ron advises business, product and engineering leaders to solve development team challenges, taking on an occasional interim vice president of engineering role, and training teams and executives in making agile more effective. He transitions teams from waterfall and iterative methodologies to agile, coaches teams already using agile to make their software development "hum", and trains managers in managing software people and teams. In his continued search for effective best practices, Ron co-authors the Study of Product Team Performance (http://www.ronlichty.com/study.html).

Published in: Software
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What's It Take to Be a (Good!) Manager

  1. 1. What's It Take to Be a (Good!) Manager? Ron Lichty | Ron Lichty Consulting Ron@RonLichty.com | www.ronlichty.com Ron@RonLichty.com (c) Ron Lichty: 1
  2. 2. Managing Software People & Teams 2Ron@RonLichty.com (c) Ron Lichty:
  3. 3. •  Untangling knots in software development •  Making development “hum” •  Interim VP Eng roles Advise Business & Engineering Leaders 3Ron@RonLichty.com (c) Ron Lichty:
  4. 4. Ron@RonLichty.com 4(c) Ron Lichty:
  5. 5. http://ManagingTheUnmanageable.net <-----tools, excerpts, more rules of thumb * Addison Wesley (Amazon, BarnesandNoble, InformIT.com, Safari) * 5Ron@RonLichty.com (c) Ron Lichty:
  6. 6. Ron@RonLichty.com 6 http://ManagingTheUnmanageable.net <-----and pointers to video training (c) Ron Lichty:
  7. 7. * Addison Wesley (Amazon, BarnesandNoble, InformIT.com, Safari) http://ManagingTheUnmanageable.net <-----tools, excerpts, more rules of thumb * 7Ron@RonLichty.com (c) Ron Lichty:
  8. 8. The Study of Product Team Performance http://www.ronlichty.com/study.html 8Ron@RonLichty.com (c) Ron Lichty:
  9. 9. Consult: Untangling the Knots; Making Things Hum •  process •  culture •  communication •  planning •  rigor Ron@RonLichty.com 9(c) Ron Lichty:
  10. 10. You? Ron@RonLichty.com (c) Ron Lichty: 10
  11. 11. Software People Managers •  Only half have had a single day of training in management of any kind •  Less than 5% had a day of management training prior to managing •  Even fewer had a day of training specific to managing software people Ron@RonLichty.com (c) Ron Lichty: 11
  12. 12. Software People Managers •  Isn’t it odd... – how long we expect programmers to have studied the art of programming – how little we expect managers to have studied the art of managing? Ron@RonLichty.com (c) Ron Lichty: 12
  13. 13. Why we wrote: * Addison Wesley published October 2012 * Ron@RonLichty.com (c) Ron Lichty: 13
  14. 14. Manager Training with Impact •  Managers and the Law •  Situational Leadership •  Reflective Listening Ron@RonLichty.com (c) Ron Lichty: 14
  15. 15. Manager Training with Impact •  Managers and the Law •  Situational Leadership •  Reflective Listening •  Managing Software People and Teams
 (live classes, & now LiveLessons video) Ron@RonLichty.com (c) Ron Lichty: 15
  16. 16. Manager Training with Impact •  Managers and the Law •  Situational Leadership •  Reflective Listening •  Managing Software People and Teams
 (live classes, & now LiveLessons video) •  The Agile Manager Ron@RonLichty.com (c) Ron Lichty: 16
  17. 17. What Is a Good Manager? Ron@RonLichty.com (c) Ron Lichty: 17
  18. 18. What Is a Good Manager? •  Good communicator •  Listens •  Sensitive •  Real-time feedback •  Shields the team •  Flexible •  Not biased •  Ethical •  Knows their team members •  Maximizes strengths •  Politely honest •  Coach •  Domain expert •  Visionary •  Trustworthy •  Patient •  Kind •  Fair •  Walks the talk •  Recognizes the team •  Motivating •  Calm •  Not a micromanager •  Sympathizes •  Empathizes •  Emotional intelligence •  Respects time •  Grows the team •  Down to earth Ron@RonLichty.com (c) Ron Lichty: 18
  19. 19. Anti-Pattern •  Both Code and Manage Ron@RonLichty.com (c) Ron Lichty: 19
  20. 20. Success as a Programmer Ron@RonLichty.com (c) Ron Lichty: 20
  21. 21. Success as a Programmer •  Highly honed coding skill •  Focus •  Block out distractions Ron@RonLichty.com (c) Ron Lichty: 21
  22. 22. Success as a Manager Ron@RonLichty.com (c) Ron Lichty: 22
  23. 23. Success as a Manager •  Welcome interruptions •  Focus on enabling others •  Delegate to others what you could do better •  People skills, coaching skills, and empathy •  Too few role models •  Dramatically more managing up and out Ron@RonLichty.com (c) Ron Lichty: 23
  24. 24. Becoming Better Managers •  Training •  Books •  Mentoring –  boss –  new peers –  network Ron@RonLichty.com (c) Ron Lichty: 24
  25. 25. How we came to write: * Addison Wesley published October 2012 * Mentoring Ron@RonLichty.com (c) Ron Lichty: 25
  26. 26. How we came to write: * Addison Wesley published October 2012 * Co-mentoring Ron@RonLichty.com (c) Ron Lichty: 26
  27. 27. Becoming Better Managers •  Training •  Books •  Mentoring: boss, new peers, network •  Ask other managers –  most important lessons –  mistakes they made, and how they solved them –  surprises, both good and bad –  sources of strength and support Ron@RonLichty.com (c) Ron Lichty: 27
  28. 28. Becoming Better Managers •  Training •  Books •  Mentoring: boss, new peers, network •  Ask other managers •  Ask your reports (practice reflective listening!) –  what they want in a manager –  what they wish could change Ron@RonLichty.com (c) Ron Lichty: 28
  29. 29. Becoming Better Managers •  Training •  Books •  Mentoring: boss, new peers, network •  Ask other managers •  Ask your reports (practice reflective listening!) •  Meetups: Silicon Valley & San Francisco Engineering Leadership Communities Ron@RonLichty.com (c) Ron Lichty: 29
  30. 30. More “Mentoring” Wisdom: Leverage Rules of Thumb •  Pair programming for half an hour during an interview will save everyone’s time. –  David Vydra, TestDriven.com •  Writing clean code is what you must do in order to call yourself a professional developer. – Uncle Bob Martin, co-author, Agile Manifesto •  Brooks’s Law: Adding manpower to a late software project makes it later. –  Frederick P. Brooks Jr. Ron@RonLichty.com (c) Ron Lichty: 30
  31. 31. Rules of Thumb / Nuggets of Wisdom* * 300 in the book / more at http://managingtheunmanageable.net/morerulesofthumb.html 31(c) Ron Lichty:Ron@RonLichty.com
  32. 32. Become a Great Manager •  Fairness •  Ethical, forthright, honest Ron@RonLichty.com (c) Ron Lichty: 32
  33. 33. Ethical •  Leading by example occurs whether you like it or not. — Jateen Parekh, Founder, CTO, Jelli Crowdsourced Radio Ron@RonLichty.com (c) Ron Lichty: 33
  34. 34. Ethical •  Leading by example occurs whether you like it or not. — Jateen Parekh, Founder, CTO, Jelli Crowdsourced Radio •  Example is not the most important way of influencing other people. It’s the only way. — Albert Schweitzer Ron@RonLichty.com (c) Ron Lichty: 34
  35. 35. Leading by Example: 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 Ron@RonLichty.com (c) Ron Lichty: 35
  36. 36. Become a Great Manager •  Fairness •  Ethical, forthright, honest •  Facilitate communication Ron@RonLichty.com (c) Ron Lichty: 36
  37. 37. 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 Ron@RonLichty.com (c) Ron Lichty: 37
  38. 38. Communication 38 You cannot overcommunicate. -RON LICHTY (c) Ron Lichty:Ron@RonLichty.com •  “We have two ears and one mouth. Use them in this ratio.” — Kimberly Wiefling
  39. 39. Become a Servant Leader •  Theory Y: “enabling”, “empowering”, “developmental", “continuous improvement” -> Servant Leadership McGregor's X-Y Theory 39(c) Ron Lichty: Managing the Unmanageable: Rules, Tools, and Insights for Managing Software People and Teams , http://www.ManagingTheUnmanageable.net Ron@RonLichty.com
  40. 40. Always Be Recruiting Ron@RonLichty.com (c) Ron Lichty: 40
  41. 41. Always Be Recruiting •  Recruiting: A manager’s most important job Ron@RonLichty.com (c) Ron Lichty: 41
  42. 42. Always Be Recruiting •  Recruiting: A manager’s most important job •  Always be recruiting –  Be out there Ron@RonLichty.com (c) Ron Lichty: 42
  43. 43. Always Be Recruiting •  Recruiting: A manager’s most important job •  Always be recruiting –  Be out there •  Why must we give it focus & attention? Ron@RonLichty.com (c) Ron Lichty: 43
  44. 44. Always Be Recruiting •  Recruiting: A manager’s most important job •  Always be recruiting –  Be out there •  Why must we give it focus & attention? –  Hiring windows Ron@RonLichty.com (c) Ron Lichty: 44
  45. 45. Always Be Recruiting •  Recruiting: A manager’s most important job •  Always be recruiting –  Be out there •  Why must we give it focus & attention? –  Hiring windows –  Getting it right is critical Ron@RonLichty.com (c) Ron Lichty: 45
  46. 46. One Bad Hire •  a plague on your team for months •  demotivate your team •  demoralize your organization •  undermine your leadership •  incite dissension and strife •  delay or derail your deliverables •  and... it’s so hard it is to get rid of bad hires! Ron@RonLichty.com (c) Ron Lichty: 46
  47. 47. Always Be Recruiting •  Recruiting: A manager’s most important job •  Always be recruiting –  Be out there •  Why must we give it focus & attention? –  Hiring windows –  Getting it right is critical •  Don’t let fear of making a bad decision rule Ron@RonLichty.com (c) Ron Lichty: 47
  48. 48. Handle Problem Employees •  Know: There’s no perfect recruiting record Ron@RonLichty.com (c) Ron Lichty: 48
  49. 49. Handle Problem Employees •  Know: There’s no perfect recruiting record •  Even if there were, you’ll inherit a problem employee Ron@RonLichty.com (c) Ron Lichty: 49
  50. 50. Handle Problem Employees •  Know: There’s no perfect recruiting record •  even if there were, you’ll inherit a problem •  Intervention beats performance plans & firing –  Requires preparation, commitment, time –  But it’s focused on fixing the issue earlier: •  Marty Brounstein: Handling the Difficult Employee Ron@RonLichty.com (c) Ron Lichty: 50
  51. 51. Intervention Meetings •  a LOT of preparation •  stating the problem •  list every impact •  let your employee vent •  brainstorm solutions •  map out a plan –  that must include regular, structured follow-ups Ron@RonLichty.com (c) Ron Lichty: 51
  52. 52. Handle Problem Employees •  Know: There’s no perfect recruiting record •  Intervention beats performance plans & firing –  Requires preparation, commitment, time –  But it’s focused on fixing the issue earlier: •  Marty Brounstein: Handling the Difficult Employee •  One of two results: –  Turns them around –  They quit on their own Ron@RonLichty.com (c) Ron Lichty: 52
  53. 53. Handle Problem Employees •  Know: There’s no perfect recruiting record •  Intervention beats performance plans & firing –  Requires preparation, commitment, time –  But it’s focused on fixing the issue earlier: •  Marty Brounstein: Handling the Difficult Employee •  One of two results: –  Turns them around –  They quit on their own •  Handle it!Ron@RonLichty.com (c) Ron Lichty: 53
  54. 54. Programmers Aren’t All Alike! •  Programming disciplines •  Generations of programmers •  Morning people vs night people •  Employees vs Contractors •  Proximity •  Cowboys vs Farmers Ron@RonLichty.com (c) Ron Lichty: 54
  55. 55. Stay Focused on What’s Important! In the beginning, everyone will talk about scope, and budget, and schedule, but in the end, nobody really cares about any of those things. The only thing they care about is this: People will love your software, or they won’t. So that’s the only criterion to which you should truly manage. —Joseph Kleinschmidt, SF CTO / now CEO Ron@RonLichty.com (c) Ron Lichty: 55
  56. 56. Leaders and Delegation •  Rules of Thumb Trust but verify. 56Ron@RonLichty.com (c) Ron Lichty:
  57. 57. Leaders and Delegation Trust but verify. -RONALD REAGAN 57Ron@RonLichty.com (c) Ron Lichty:
  58. 58. Leaders and Delegation Trust but verify. -RONALD REAGAN quo3ng VLADIMIR LENIN 58Ron@RonLichty.com (c) Ron Lichty:
  59. 59. –  imperative not to micromanage –  the essence of delegation –  setting expected outcomes for teams Leaders and Delegation Trust but verify. -RONALD REAGAN quo3ng VLADIMIR LENIN 59Ron@RonLichty.com (c) Ron Lichty:
  60. 60. Leaders and Delegation I inspect what I expect. - ALAN LEFKOF, Netopia CEO, quo3ng LOU GERSTNER 60 Trust but verify. -RONALD REAGAN quo3ng VLADIMIR LENIN Ron@RonLichty.com (c) Ron Lichty:
  61. 61. Set High Standards Ron@RonLichty.com (c) Ron Lichty: 61
  62. 62. Motivation • The things that Motivate are not the same as the things that De-Motivate Ron@RonLichty.com (c) Ron Lichty: 62
  63. 63. Motivation •  Just as you actively Motivate •  You need to actively avoid De-Motivating Ron@RonLichty.com (c) Ron Lichty: 63
  64. 64. Motivation •  Just as you actively Motivate •  You need to actively avoid De-Motivating * Frederick Herzberg, 1950s Ron@RonLichty.com (c) Ron Lichty: 64
  65. 65. Motivators vs De-Motivators Ron@RonLichty.com (c) Ron Lichty: 65
  66. 66. Be Careful What You Reward •  “Behavior revolves around what you measure.” --Jim Highsmith –  If you reward heroes... •  What gets measured gets manipulated. •  “Do you define “done” as “coding complete”? –  Or as features that delight customers? •  Be very careful trying to reward with cash Ron@RonLichty.com (c) Ron Lichty: 66
  67. 67. Managers Must Foster Culture •  Trust Our People •  Empower Self-Organization & Excellence •  Expect / Enable Truly Shared Leadership •  Model, Defend, Evangelize Agile Values •  Foster a Culture of Communication •  Encourage Teamwork and Collaboration •  Shield Teams from Politics & Distraction •  Take Care of Stuff! Take Care of Teams! Ron@RonLichty.com (c) Ron Lichty: 67
  68. 68. 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 Ron@RonLichty.com (c) Ron Lichty: 68
  69. 69. 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 Ron@RonLichty.com (c) Ron Lichty: 69
  70. 70. Learn to Manage Up Ron@RonLichty.com (c) Ron Lichty: 70
  71. 71. Learn to Manage 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 Ron@RonLichty.com (c) Ron Lichty: 71
  72. 72. 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 Ron@RonLichty.com (c) Ron Lichty: 72
  73. 73. Climbing the Career Ladder The very thing that has made you successful in your last role will get in your way in your next role. Ron@RonLichty.com (c) Ron Lichty: 73
  74. 74. These, or... •  Your new hire’s first day •  The value of regular one-on-ones •  Managing your people •  Getting programmers to work together well Ron@RonLichty.com (c) Ron Lichty: 74
  75. 75. 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 Ron@RonLichty.com (c) Ron Lichty: 75
  76. 76. Raffle! •  either –  business card –  name / email onto blank •  Focus on becoming the manager and the leader you always wanted to work for Ron@RonLichty.com (c) Ron Lichty: 76
  77. 77. Pre-Order & Save 40%* informit.com/managing2e •  Use code EARLYMANAGING •  Available as Book and/or eBook (eBook all-inclusive: PDF, EPUB, and MOBI) •  Free Shipping in the US Book is also available via booksellers including Amazon and Barnes & Noble and in O’Reilly’s Online Learning Service. *Discount code EARLYMANAGING is only good at informit.com and cannot be used on the already discounted book + eBook bundle or combined with any other offer. Offer ends December 9, 2019 and is subject to change. 77
  78. 78. Management Track today... •  Applied Wisdom for the Emotionally Intelligent Manager •  The Science of Programmer Motivation •  Building Distributed Teams •  End-of-Day Panel: bring your management questions! Tomorrow: Agile Track •  Situational Decision Making in a VUCA world! •  Intro to Test-Driven Development •  Improve Quality & Joy: Agile XP Dojos Work •  Critical Practices, Nuanced Techniques •  What to Expect from Your Agile Coach (and What They Should Expect from You) 78Ron@RonLichty.com (c) Ron Lichty:
  79. 79. Ron Lichty Consulting •  Mentoring, coaching, training, consulting: –  http://ronlichty.com, Ron@RonLichty.com •  The book: Managing the Unmanageable: Rules, Tools & Insights for Managing Software People & Teams –  http://ManagingTheUnmanageable.net <-----tools, excerpts, more rules of thumb •  The video training: LiveLessons: Managing Software People and Teams –  http://ManagingTheUnmanageable.net/video.html •  The study: The Study of Product Team Performance –  http://ronlichty.com/study.html •  Training: The Agile Manager Managing Software People and Teams Zero to Agile in Three Days 79Ron@RonLichty.com (c) Ron Lichty:
  80. 80. Pre-Order & Save 40%* informit.com/managing2e •  Use code EARLYMANAGING •  Available as Book and/or eBook (eBook all-inclusive: PDF, EPUB, and MOBI) •  Free Shipping in the US Book is also available via booksellers including Amazon and Barnes & Noble and in O’Reilly’s Online Learning Service. *Discount code EARLYMANAGING is only good at informit.com and cannot be used on the already discounted book + eBook bundle or combined with any other offer. Offer ends December 9, 2019 and is subject to change. 80
  81. 81. Ron Lichty Consulting •  Mentoring, coaching, training, consulting: –  http://ronlichty.com, Ron@RonLichty.com •  The book: Managing the Unmanageable: Rules, Tools & Insights for Managing Software People & Teams –  http://ManagingTheUnmanageable.net <-----tools, excerpts, more rules of thumb •  The video training: LiveLessons: Managing Software People and Teams –  http://ManagingTheUnmanageable.net/video.html •  The study: The Study of Product Team Performance –  http://ronlichty.com/study.html •  Training: The Agile Manager Managing Software People and Teams Zero to Agile in Three Days 81Ron@RonLichty.com (c) Ron Lichty:
  82. 82. Ron@RonLichty.com (c) Ron Lichty: 82

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