Saturday, January 04, 2014

Weekend Reading: The Management Writing Edition

I've been in a kick of reading books about management. I recently finished David Anderson's Kanban (which was very useful), and am now reading Scott Berkun's The Year Without Pants, about his time working at Automattic, the company that makes WordPress. I am finding many good and interesting thoughts in it, but it is also annoying me for the things it doesn't examine. However, I'm only halfway through, so perhaps my concerns will eventually be addressed. Either way, I suspect I'll have a full blog post about what is missing from most tech management books (spoiler alert: one thing that tends to be missing is any recognition of how some of the techniques described can be exclusionary, either accidentally or not).

So, I've clearly been in the mood to read about management. I've found some good links on management, too:

I read Geek Manager's post about how there is no such thing as the Soft Skills Fairy quite awhile back, and tweeted it out at the time. If you missed it, go and read it. It is great and oh so very true. You can learn the "soft skills" and you don't really have any excuse for not working to learn them. It is infuriating to your colleagues to shrug and say "I'm just not good at the soft skills" and it is insulting and belittling to the people who have taken the time to work on those skills.

I found John Cook's post about when to delegate via Rands. It is very good. As a manager, I also try to think about the energy impact for the person to whom I am delegating, and whether what I am delegating is something that will help that person grow in the directions that he or she wants to grow.

This post from Eric Brechner about how individual flow is not the be all, end all goal in tech management is thought-provoking. I don't agree 100%, but I don't disagree. Basically, I need to think more about what he says.

@SarahHCarl's twitter feed led me to this post about remote work by David Heinemeir Hansson, the coauthor of the management book I'm likely to read next- Remote: Office Not Required.

I'd like to end with two posts that aren't strictly about management, but cover topics I think managers should think about, to make their decisions more sensitive and inclusive:

First of all, Chris Bourg has a post of stories about when people have mistaken her gender, which links to some very simple advice about what to do if you make this mistake.

Next, Molly Crabapple has a great piece about the importance of money and how the lack of it constrains opportunity.

Happy 2014, and happy weekend, everyone!


  1. Sarah (@SarahHCarl)12:18 PM

    Hey Cloud, thanks for the twitter shoutout! Most of what I've learned about management has come from your blog and links, so I'm glad you found something useful from my feed! :)

  2. Anonymous6:51 PM

    I followed your link about mistaken gender identity, which then lead me down a rabbit hole of links. Interesting (and amusing) stuff I would not have found on my own - thanks for sharing!

  3. Anonymous10:14 AM

    If you ping me with a list of the things that you felt I didn't answer I'll answer them on my blog like I did for this reader:

    Hope you enjoy the rest of the book.


    1. Will do! I need to finish the book first, though. I'm only about 50% through. Thanks for the offer.

  4. I had no idea Eric Brechner's Hard Code columns were available publicly! I used to read them at work all the time and assumed they were internal :) Cool.

    I've got The Year Without Pants on my list as I've got to read a bunch of stuff to keep up my PMP certification. I'll be interested to hear what you think when you're done with it.

  5. Love the image of the soft skills fairy. Part of being a grown-up is learning to do an adequate job at things that are necessary, even if you are not good at them. For instance, making small talk at parties (ask people questions about themselves!) Expressing appropriate levels of interest/sympathy if someone shares something important, even if you are not naturally a gushy person.


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