Behind Closed Doors: Secrets of Great Management (Pragmatic Programmers) Review

Behind Closed Doors: Secrets of Great Management
Average Reviews:

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This is a book about line management of knowledge work - Programmers, Graphic Artists, CAD Drafters, Chemists, Engineers, Physicists, etc.This kind of management is a relatively new invention, and stands in stark contrast to manufacturing management.Previously, you had to read a host of authors like Drucker, DeMarco, Deming, and Jim Collins and read between the lines.Now you have this short, practical guide by Rothman and Derby."Behind Closed Doors" is a practical book - Do this, then do that.The writing is clear and tells the story of a newly hired director of software engineering who brings focus and direction to a floundering team.

The writing is not novel-quality, but it does provide real actionable guidance in a way that keeps you awake and thinking.That alone puts it above the typical management text, at least in my book.Plus, the book is small:You will actually remember the points it makes and know how to do them.

Because it is small, the authors focused on that one aspect of management. "Behind closed doors" does not contain a great deal of philosophy.Also, while Project Managers may find it helpful, they will want to use this book to round out a library, not start one.

I give "Behind Closed Doors" five stars, because it does what it says and does it well.All of the other books I know in this space have some painful weakness:They are vague, theoretical, boring, try to cover too wide a subject, etc.

Bottom Line: If you are a direct manager of technical people, you can't go wrong.If you -are- a knowledge worker, buy it for your boss!

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Product Description:

Great management is difficult to see as it occurs. It's possible to see the results of great management, but it's not easy to see how managers achieve those results. Great management happens in one-on-one meetings and with other managers---all in private.It's hard to learn management by example when you can't see it. You can learn to be a better manager---even a great manager---with this guide.You'll follow along as Sam, a manager just brought on board, learns the ropes and deals with his new team over the course of his first eight weeks on the job.From scheduling and managing resources to helping team members grow and prosper, you'll be there as Sam makes it happen. You'll find powerful tips covering:

    Delegating effectively
    Using feedback and goal-setting
    Developing influence
    Handling one-on-one meetings
    Coaching and mentoring
    Deciding what work to do---and what not to do
    ...and more.

Full of tips and practical advice on the most important aspects of management, this is one of those books that can make a lasting and immediate impact on your career.

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