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Managing Humans: Biting and Humorous Tales of a Software Engineering Manager


The humor and insights in the 2nd Edition of Managing Humans are drawn from Michael Lopp's management experiences at Apple, Netscape, Symantec, and Borland, among others. This book is full of stories based on companies in the Silicon Valley where people have been known to yell at each other and occasionally throw chairs. It is a place full of dysfunctional bright people who are in an incredible hurry to find the next big thing so they can strike it rich and then do it all over again. Among these people are managers, a strange breed of people who, through a mystical organizational ritual, have been given power over the future and bank accounts of many others. Whether you're an aspiring manager, a current manager, or just wondering what the heck a manager does all day, there is a story in this book that will speak to you—and help you survive and prosper amongst the general craziness.

Lopp's straight-from-the-hip style is unlike any other writer on management. He pulls no punches and tells stories he probably shouldn't. But they are massively instructive and cut to the heart of the matter whether it's dealing with your boss, handling a slacker, hiring top guns, or seeing a knotty project through to completion.

This second editions expands on the management essentials. It will explain why we hate meetings, but must have them, it carefully documents the right way to have a 1-on-1, and it documents the perils of not listening to your team.

Writing code is easy. Managing humans is not. You need a book to help you do it, and this is it.

What you’ll learn

  • How to lead geeks
  • How to handle conflict
  • How to hire well
  • How to motivate employees
  • How to manage your boss 
  • How to say no
  • How to handle stressed people freaking out
  • How to improve your social IQ
  • How to run a meeting well
  • And much more

Who this book is for

This book is designed for managers and would-be managers staring at the role of a manager wondering why they would ever leave the safe world of bits and bytes for the messy world of managing humans. The book covers handling conflict, managing wildly differing personality types, infusing innovation into insane product schedules, and figuring out how to build a lasting and useful engineering culture.

Table of Contents

Section 1: The Management Quiver

1. Don't Be a Prick

2. Managers Are Not Evil

3. The Rands Test

4. How to Run a Meeting

5. The Twinge

6. The Update, The Vent, and the Disaster

7. The Monday Freakout

8. Lost in Translation

9. Agenda Detection

10. Mandate Dissection

11. Information Starvation

12. Subtlety, Subterfuge, and Silence

13. Managementese

14. Fred Hates It

15. DNA

16. An Engineering Mindset

17. Three Superpowers

18. Saying No

Part 2: The Process is the Product

19. 1.0

20. How to Start

21. Taking Time to Think

22. The Soak

23. Managing Malcolm Events

24. Capturing Context

25. Trickle Theory

26. When the Sky Falls

27. Hacking is Important

Part 3: Versions of You

28. Bored People Quit

29. Bellwethers

30. The Ninety Day Interview

31. Managing Nerds

32. NADD

33. A Nerd in a Cave

34. Meeting Creatures

35. Incrementalists and Completionists

36. Organics and Mechanics

37. Inwards, Outwards, and Holistics

38. Free Electrons

39. Rules for the Reorg

40. An Unexpected Connection

41. Avoiding the Fez

42. A Glimpse and a Hook

43. Nailing the Phone Screen

44. Your Resignation Checklist


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