I get the question “Can you recommend any books or other resources for learning more about engineering leadership or management?” often enough that I’ve decided to finally write something here that I can point people to.
Here are my top four* book recommendations, in order of recommended reading:
“The Manager’s Path” by Camille Fournier is my favorite overview of what different levels of engineering leadership and management look like. Mentor, tech lead, manager, director, etc. are all different roles with different responsibilities and this book gives you a good flavor of what each entails.
“High Output Management” by Andy Grove is a classic book on effective engineering management. Grove covers a wide swath of management, leadership, and business topics. You might assume that a 1985 book from the CEO of a 100,000+ company doesn’t have much to teach you, but you know what happens when you assume†.
My last recommendation is a twofer: Michael Lopp has written two books that cover, well, random parts of engineering leadership and management. I really like his storytelling style:
* Okay, five.
† The funny‡ thing is that the “you know what happens when you assume” statement is, itself, an assumption!
‡ At least I think that’s funny.