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:

Creation, Ownership, Drive, and Motivation

Ben Pieratt says:

“Creation is entirely dependent on ownership.

Ownership not as a percentage of equity, but as a measure of your ability to change things for the better. To build and grow and fail and learn. This is no small thing. Creativity is the manifestation of lateral thinking, and without tangible results, it becomes stunted. We have to see the fruits of our labors, good or bad, or there’s no motivation to proceed, nothing to learn from to inform the next decision. States of approval and decisions-by-committee and constant compromises are third-party interruptions of an internal dialog that needs to come to its own conclusions.”

Check out Ben’s full post:

Don’t let the title of “In Praise of Quitting Your Job” fool you into thinking it’s a negative post – it’s not.  It’s a positive post, which lines up well with Daniel Pink’s book, “Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us.”

Drive looks at “the three elements of true motivation—autonomy, mastery, and purpose,” which is another way of talking about what Ben calls “ownership.”