This book contains best-selling author Watts Humphrey's practical insights on how to lead technical professionals. In previous books, Humphrey established process as a key factor in successful software development. His advice on how companies and individuals could improve their software process has been widely adopted.
In this new book, Watts Humphrey demonstrates the importance of people to the success of any software project. He focuses particularly on the critical role of innovative people, and gives concrete advice on how to identify, motivate, and organize these people into highly productive teams.
Drawing on experience as IBM's senior software-development executive, and expanding on an earlier work (Managing for Innovation), Humphrey presents proven leadership practices and management techniques that can work in any organization. Given the software industry's dependence on creative human resources, managers will welcome his insights on the special challenges encountered in leading technical professionals, and on specific steps managers can take to encourage greater innovation while achieving higher levels of efficiency and quality.
Review By: Michael Cookson 08/15/2002
This manual offers tips and suggestions on how to manage and motivate technical people in a rapidly changing world. Watts discusses the innovative professional from many angles, including different techniques for employees in different career stages. From the newest employee fresh from school with the latest technical skills and no practical experience, to the seasoned veteran who has experience but may be behind technically, Watts covers the strategies and actions managers and leaders need in order to get the most from their employees.
Watts draws from his experience with IBM and the SEI to show the importance of organizational structure, the manager and leadership roles and how these elements affect technical employees. Watts identifies characteristics of good technical employees and how these traits separate the truly innovative from the rest of the pack. Finally, Watts discusses how to get innovative people to work together in highly productive and collaborative teams to maximize the effectiveness of personnel in a technical organization.
The book is aimed at the management team of technical organizations. The tips and strategies are almost exclusively geared to leaders of technical and innovative people.
Humphrey accomplishes an excellent how-to book for managing technical people. This is not a textbook of policies and theories, but rather a practical guide. The book gives managers effective advice on how to motivate and inspire innovative, technical people. The focus is not on organizational theory or team management concepts, but on getting the most from your people by providing them the environment and challenges that allow these technical innovators to flourish.
The author supports his suggestions and advice with stories and examples, illustrating how certain styles and actions can assist or demoralize individuals and teams. Insights are drawn from his more than fifty years of work experience and it is this experience that separates books written by Humphrey from other books in this field. The use of war stories and examples makes this book easy to read, and far more interesting than many other books, which focus only on theories and concepts.
This book can help any leader or manager with technical staff. It can also help senior management provide the kind of environment and direction in which technical people are likely to be the most productive.
I would highly recommend this book to any manager of technical people, new or experienced. There is no manager working today so experienced and knowledgeable that they could not use this book.