Summary of “Managing Humans,” 2nd edition

The second edition of “Managing Humans” came out this summer. In it, Michael Lopp (aka Rands) collects the engineering management wisdom from his blog in convenient dead-tree form. Again.

The second edition adds 18 chapters to the first edition, by my quick count, totaling 292 pages. The first edition was 209 pages. (I’m kind of disappointed the new edition didn’t say “Now with 40% more verbiage!” on the cover.) All sarcasm aside, I think that’s a good amount of new content, almost enough to justify buying the new edition. But I checked out the new edition at the library.

I loved the first edition, and I’m excited to dive into the second edition.

Here’s the money quote for me, from the first chapter:

“Every single person with whom you work has a vastly different set of needs. Fulfilling these needs is one way to make them content and productive. It is your full-time job to listen to these people and mentally document how they are built. This is your most important job. I know the senior VP of engineering is telling you that hitting the date for the project is job number one, but you are not going to write the code, test the product, or document the features. The team is going to do these things, and your job is to manage the team.”

That pretty much sums up Rands’s writing.

On to chapter two.

Note: that quote is originally from this Rands in Repose post: Don’t Be A Prick. It was edited before getting into the book.

Also, the book has a nifty web page with an old-school click-through intro:

Learnable Programming, Bret Victor, and Other Two Word Phrases

Bret Victor just published his latest essay, “Learnable Programming.”

In “Learnable Programming” Bret criticizes the Khan Academy’s latest “interactive” programming education tools and suggests a better way to teach programming.

He footnotes the essay with this summary:

This essay was an immune response, triggered by hearing too many times that Inventing on Principle was “about live coding”, and seeing too many attempts to “teach programming” by adorning a JavaScript editor with badges and mascots.

“Inventing on Principle” was the talk he gave at CUSEC 2012.

If you haven’t seen/read both you must immediately:

  1. Get a cup of coffee, tea, or whatever comfort beverage you prefer.
  2. Find a comfortable place to sit and pay attention for about two hours.
  3. Watch the video of Inventing on Principle.
  4. Read the Learnable Programming essay.

It’s fantastically worth your time.

Bret sidenotes* the essay with this exciting teaser:

Forward reference: Some work that I’ve done in automatic visualization of ad-hoc data structures will be published later this year, in collaboration with Viewpoints Research.

I’m looking forward to that!

* I just invented the verb “sidenote,” as in, “He sidenoted the heck out of that teaser in the side note.”