Found in 17 comments on Hacker News
ransom1538 · 2019-01-04 · Original thread
+ Yes, I suggest reading his book 5 times:


While I'm at it, 2nd best: _Managing Humans_ by Michael Lopp (aka Rands).

yes do it, setup 30mins per person every 2 weeks, in the meeting invite describe this is a time for discussion, feedback (for you to them and them to you), for things like career progression and also for them to ask questions they might not feel comfortable asking in a more public setting including things about product, company etc. Try to keep the time as consistent as possible and show that these are a priority for you (so don't forget, cancel them etc).

They can be tough conversations, but rewarding on both sides.

If you are leading a team of devs at the very least read these 2 books:-

foz · 2017-02-26 · Original thread
"Managing Humans" by Michael Lopp made a huge impression on me and my career.

Also, "The Phoenix Project" which IMO is a groundbreaking work on how to make IT/business more effective (and the start of the DevOps movement).

Even if you're not a manager, both books are very approachable and packed with great lessons about how improve and better work with people, teams, and business.

katpas · 2016-09-12 · Original thread
If you'll be managing a technical product and other developers I'd recommend reading 'Managing Humans' by Michael Lopp (aka rands) -

Short chapters so you can read it in chunks, its entertaining and based on his experiences.

Included it in this list of start-up books I wrote ages ago but you've reminded me its worth re-reading -

mrbird · 2016-06-03 · Original thread
Contrary to what many people think, few of us have managers who can consistently and successfully lay out the optimal career path and help us achieve it. I'd say there are three main reasons:

1. It's really hard to do.

2. Few people have themselves been trained on management.

3. Faced with 1 and 2, people focus on their own, more familiar personal deliverables.

Therefore, if you want things to change, you'll probably have to make some specific suggestions. And to do that, you should do some homework. I highly recommend starting with Managing Humans by Michael Lopp ( or maybe The Hard Thing About Hard Things by Ben Horowitz ( Spend an hour or two with each book and you'll have a better idea what can be done, and why.

What you're finding is that working as both a full-time manager and full-time engineer is very difficult, borderline impossible. Eventually, you'll have to choose. An increasing number of small companies are starting to understand this reality, and allow their top people to grow into either technical leadership or management leadership roles. Expecting both, simultaneously, is not realistic.

dochtman · 2015-10-15 · Original thread
I liked Michael Lopp's (also known as Rands, from Rands in Repose) book, Managing Humans, when I first became a team lead 18 months ago.

foz · 2015-06-21 · Original thread
As a manager, 1-1s should not just be considered status reports. They are a way for you to build trust and communication with your staff, and to give them a chance to talk about anything: problems, work on personal development, or feedback about you as their manager.

1-1s are probably your most valuable tool. Often, you will discover problems and info you would have otherwise not known - "our lead developer seems depressed and was talking about quitting", "did you hear about that other project that started? It's in direct conflict with our plans...", "there's a conference coming up, we should present at it", and so forth.

An effective manager should, in my opinion, spend 50% or more of his time with his team. Working on the same topics, talking to them, helping to plan, fixing problems, finding resources, and doing 1-1s. It's no surprise that teams with the most problems often have a manager who is just not around enough.

For new managers, I always suggest the following resources as a great starting point:

- "Team Geek": - "Managing Humans": - Manager Tools podcast:

hoop · 2015-06-06 · Original thread
Hi there, I'm quite new to engineering management as well, with approximately one year of experience. I've had some great mentors, as well as a reading list passed down to me. I'll highlight those I found as having the most impact for me.

At the top of the list is "Managing Humans: Biting and Humorous Tales of a Software Engineering Manager" by Michael Lopp[1], which was recommended to me by a manager who helped me get my start in engineering management. This book touches on a lot of the nuances in dealing with people and, as an introvert, I found this really helpful. The same author blogs under "Rands in Repose[2]" which has much of the content from the aforementioned book available for free.

While in the people category you'll also get a lot of recommendations for "Drive!" by Daniel Pink[2], which is a book about intrinsic motivators (autonomy, mastery, purpose) and how they are more important and effective than extrinsic motivators (e.g. money), particularly for knowledge workers. My personal advice, however, is to watch his TED talk[3] which is a great summary of basically the entire book. In this same category I could also recommend "The Great Jackass Fallacy" by Harry Levinson[5].

Now on the wall between people management and engineering/project management is "Slack" by Tom DeMarco[6], which is about how organizations and managers tend to run their staff at 100% capacity. As the book points out, however, this is a good way to not only burn people out, but it also sends response times through the roof (from queuing theory), and stifles change ("too busy to improve"). You can read this one on a plane. For some shameless self promotion, I've also written a tiny blog post relating Slack and the need for upkeep (software operations and maintenance)[7].

Next, fully in engineering/project management, I have to recommend "Waltzing with Bears" by Tom DeMarco and Anthony Lister[8], which is specifically about managing risk on software projects. The authors highlight the common practice of project/engineering managers communicating their "nano date", which they point out is typically the lowest point on the uncertainty curve. In other words, the project has the lowest possible chance of shipping by this date when you look at the possible timeline as a probability distribution. This book changed the way I talk about projects and the way I manage my team's various risks and I have been more successful as a result.

One final recommendation I'll make, since you're in the midst of a transition, is "The First 90 Days" by Michael Watkins[9]. It's a wonderful book that outlines how and why one should develop a transition plan in order to hit the ground running - and in the right direction. For my last engineering management opportunity, developing a preliminary 90 day plan as part of a "starter project," was a major factor in being given the job.

I believe that a subset of these will give you a great start. After that, you should read on the areas you feel the need for the most amount of help with or the areas that interest you. If you are avidly interested in project management, for example, you should read books on various methodologies, particularly the one that you or your organization practice.










romanhn · 2014-09-03 · Original thread
I'm currently enjoying "Managing Humans" by Michael Lopp - You can also read his blog entries on management here -

The reality of people management is that books and articles will only take you so far. They can build a good foundation, but nothing cements the lessons like making mistakes, recovering from them, and learning how to avoid them in the future. Keep an open mind, don't be afraid to experiment, and look out for your team. Everything else will come through experience.

nicholasjon · 2014-06-24 · Original thread
Seconded. If paper form is more your thing, I've found his compilation book "Managing Humans" ( to be a great place to start.
ajacksified · 2012-08-30 · Original thread
He did a great job, and I definitely recommend the book:
To add a few that span outside entrepreneurship, but are of course very valuable to entrepreneurs:

Inspired: How To Create Products Customers Love ( - The best if not only required reading for product management

Peopleware ( - Great read on managing and understanding people as it relates to organizations

Managing Humans ( - Obviously on management, you can read much on this, though the book does a great job of consolidating it

aculver · 2011-07-29 · Original thread
If this resonates with you, you may enjoy reading and .

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