OK, so you’ve seen me review thousands of development-related books (ok, maybe 20) but I’ve been posed a very interesting question by a manager who’s not a developer: What are good books for a technical manager who’s not currently in the development arena but will be overseeing a staff of developers?
Some context: This fellow is a sharp guy in the infrastructure arena (think serious skill in the Exchange, SMS, MOM, servers, etc. domain) and is a fast learner. He also gives a rat’s ass about getting things done right and wants to know what makes developers tick, a bit about the technology (we’re a .NET shop), and something about how developers go about doing their work.
My recommendations so far are David Chappell’s Understanding .NET: A Tutorial and Analysis and Andy Hunt/Venkat Subramaniam’s Practices of an Agile Developer. I like the former because it’s very short and hits things from the CLR/CLI to languages to web services. The second is my bias to Agile things and how I’d like my work environment to be set up. Come to think of it, I should toss in Peopleware because that’s such a killer piece on environment in general.
What books would you recommend to expose someone to the basics needed to effectively lead a group of developers, both from a high-level understanding of the technology as well as understanding what/how/why developers work?
(Let’s not go off the deep end with Effective C#, Code Complete, or the Gang of Four book, OK?)