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What resources would you recommend to a developer who is transitioning into management?

Nathan Englert
Maker of things, writer of codes.
・1 min read

Discussion (22)

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Jon Randy

A psychiatrist

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simonhaisz

I went with the self medicate option - scotch.

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Cédric Spalvieri

I would recommend the book “The manager’s path” from Camille Fournier which is literally about switching from technical contributor to technical manager.
“Radical candor” from Kim Scott is less specific but explain a good management style for modern tech companies.

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Nathan Englert Author

Awesome, thanks! Added them to my list. 👍👍

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Julien Lind

I really loved “the manager’s path”.
I am quite sure you will find answers into it !

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David Wickes

Charity Majors has written extensively on this - I'd recommend reading her blog posts on the subject. For instance charity.wtf/2019/01/04/engineering...

(I'd recommend following Charity on Twitter too because SHE'S AMAZING and WISE and HAS GREAT HAIR twitter.com/mipsytipsy)

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Nathan Englert Author
  1. I love that domain name.
  2. Agreed on the great hair.
  3. Bookmarked her blog, I'll definitely check it out.

Thanks!

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Adrián Norte

Be patient, very patient.

Learn to translate from tech to suit and vice-versa.

And one of the most important ones I learned when I was a CTO: sometimes, you just need to let people make a mistake, even when you know that solution will fail, in order to allow them to grow.

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Nathan Englert Author

Great advice, that's definitely how I've learned over the years. Thanks!

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Will Green

The biggest thing to remember is that your job is no longer primarily about developing software. Your job is now to develop people. The longer it takes you to make this shift, the more likely you are to burn out. Find a mentor who you can talk with on a regular basis.

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Nathan Englert Author

Great advice! And yes, without a mentor, I wouldn't be ready to take that next step.

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Jaimie Carter • Edited

Having had a technical management job, and coming from the trenches, the biggest problem I faced was the other managers and my direct superior. The single most important thing you need to do, is make sure you turn into 'the grey man' that is to say, if you're good at your job, make sure it's subtle. Also keep a tight ship. It's the little things that will screw you - make sure you 'copy the master roster', our entire studio was rostered with excel (really), and if I didn't copy my team's roster to the master roster, it was the end of the word. For you - it will be some equally ridiculous process made by a manager of questionable ability - just do it.
Basically in middle management, especially the bottom rung, its a game. Stay out of the way, and keep everything tidy.

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Nathan Englert Author

Sounds like some unfortunate office politics. Were you promoted into that position or hired into it? How big was the development staff?

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Jaimie Carter • Edited

So, my story is a little different. At 51, I'm attempting to make a career change into coding. I currently work in television. I was hired into the role of head of audio for a network. I had 3 people on staff and about 20 freelancers, as is the way with broadcast.
To be honest, I don't think it matters the industry in middle management. People are people. You're going from basically the person who 'is' the product (your fingers type the code that people pay in some way to use), to managing those people. Once you're in that realm, it's all pretty much the same.
I can't emphasise enough: your peers will be your biggest challenge. Don't underestimate people's ambition, and what they'll do to get to where they want to be. You're not the only one with ambition, basically. It's not unfortunate politics, it's day to day reality. To think otherwise, perhaps is a little naive.
Do a good job, but don't beat your chest. Keep a clean desk, but have work ready to go. Keep your frustration to yourself, but support change (if it comes). Basically keep your head down and keep the machine running.
I know this is all very uncool and not very Silicon Valley, but if you heed my advice, you'll do ok. Caution with a hint of cynicism will serve you well (look at your C level leaders).

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Nathan Englert Author

This was great, I really appreciate the detailed answer!

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Ben Halpern
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Nathan Englert Author

Thanks Ben, this is great. I've got some reading to do. 😄

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Nathan Englert Author

I came across this treasure trove of knowledge in my search today. I've only scratched the surface so far, but looks like an excellent source of information.

GitHub logo LappleApple / awesome-leading-and-managing

Awesome List of resources on leading people and being a manager. Geared toward tech, but potentially useful to anyone.

Awesome Leadership and Management Awesome

What This Is, and Where It Comes From

Since 2013-ish, Joe Goldberg, who created the original document inspiring this list, read a crap-ton of books and articles about "leadership" and "management" and took notes along the way. He shared it with friends who were transitioning to management roles and eventually decided to open-source it. Here you'll find Joe's still-public document, which provides meatier summaries of the articles you'll find listed here as well as lots of supplementary notes.

In summer 2017 Lauri Apple found out about Joe's docs via Software Lead Weekly and asked Joe about posting the contents to GitHub. He gave the greenlight. Lauri changed up the format (very brief blurbs), turned the doc into an Awesome List, and has continued adding new entries ever since. Helping out with the initial upload were a team of Lauri's former colleagues at Zalando

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Nathan Englert Author

To start, I found this awesome, concise list of tips in a post from last year. 👇

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jpetrzilka

Extreme ownership by Jocko Willink and Leif Babin

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Nathan Englert Author

I love that, sounds like a very pragmatic approach to leadership. Added to the list!