Engineering Management Reads

Some articles and books that I found super useful to help me navigate my work as an engineering manager. I originally put this together when a former colleague stepped into a people management role for the first time, and keep expanding this list over time.

Books

  • Melissa & Johnathan Nightingale: How f*cked up is your management? An uncomfortable conversation about modern leadership. If you want to get a rough idea on how to be a good leader, learn about how to D&I, hiring, growing, managing up and out, feedback, and leading when it’s hard, and you’re okay with swear words, then I’d really recommend this book.
  • Michael Bungay Stanier: The Coaching Habit. Great book on coaching-style management (which I’m a huge proponent of).
  • Camille Fournier: The Manager’s Path, if you haven’t read it yet, I’d recommend starting with this one, as it covers the basics of Engineering Management and how to progress from there. It also works just as a book to look things up in from time to time.
  • Brené Brown: Daring Greatly. This book only has one chapter on management, but the book really shaped me in many unexpected personal and professional ways, and changed some things fundamentally for me.
  • Kim Scott: Radical Candor. Great book on building relationships, trust, and strong feedback culture.
  • Douglas Stone, Bruce Patton, Sheila Heen: Difficult conversations – How to discuss what matters most. Very good book about communication in general, and how to talk about what hard things, and what really matters.

I make a habit of focusing on reading and recommending management books that were written by women, People of Colour, and other members of underrepresented groups in tech and management roles. If you know good books that match these criteria, I’d love to hear about them.

Newsletters and other content

I’m normally not big on newsletters, but have found a few that are relatively low-traffic (once a week or less), contain a manageable amount of content, and provide high value for me:

  • Lara Hogan (former VPE Etsy, Kickstarter, Meetup) has a great newsletter, and her blog is a great resource for leadership-related content
  • Lara Hogan and her now-cofounder Deepa Subramanian (former VP Product) also have a newsletter together.
  • Software Lead Weekly often has pretty good content as well.
  • The Engineering Managers Slack is a great community. I only follow a few channels there, but sometimes find discussions there really useful (and have also used it to ask for advice in the past).
  • Inclusion at work. Great and important reads.
  • Marlow Management Series. Fortnightly management content, always with one bigger topic, and very practical.

General

What to expect from moving into management

What to do as you start out

Culture

Organising work

Meetings

On Feedback

Further reading materials

Should I move from maker to manager, or not?

Over the years, I had many conversations with folks who were interested in management-type roles, but not always sure whether these roles would be for them (and that’s okay, there’s only so much of an accurate impression that your imagination of working such a role can give you). Here are some posts that I think describe the differences well:

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