I was chatting with a team member of mine about their career growth plans a few weeks ago and while we were on the topic he mentioned he’d always appreciate book recommendations for growing into engineering management. I thought over it a bit and decided this would be a great topic to share with everyone else. So without further delay, here are my favorite books I’ve read to grow in my engineering management career in no particular order.
The Manager’s Path by Camille Fournier
This book is a practical guide for anyone aspiring to be a manager or already managing a team. It covers various stages of a manager’s career, from being an individual contributor to leading teams, and provides valuable insights on how to navigate each stage successfully. The book also includes tips on how to build and maintain high-performing teams, manage conflict, and communicate effectively.
Making Work Visible by Dominica DeGrandis
My team is a bit more service oriented and as a result sometimes have a lot of work that is difficult to see. This work explores the challenges faced by organizations in today’s fast-paced and complex work environment. It provides practical solutions to help individuals and teams manage their work more efficiently and effectively. The book introduces the “Flow Framework,” a methodology for visualizing and improving work processes, and includes case studies that demonstrate how organizations have used this framework to drive better outcomes.
Radical Candor by Kim Scott
I was in the midst of coaching a difficult conversation when I found this book on Audible, it is a guide to effective communication in the workplace, particularly between managers and their team members. The author, a former Google and Apple executive, shares her experiences and insights on how to provide candid feedback, build strong relationships, and create a culture of trust and respect. The book provides practical tools and techniques that can be applied to a wide range of situations.
Coaching for Performance by John Whitmore
Recommended to me in an internal workshop at Zapier, this book is a classic in the field of coaching and provides a comprehensive framework for coaching individuals and teams. The author emphasizes the importance of building relationships, setting goals, and providing feedback in a supportive and constructive manner. The book includes case studies and practical exercises to help readers apply the coaching principles in their own work.
An Elegant Puzzle by Will Larson
This is a guide to managing engineering teams and organizations. It covers topics such as team structure, communication, culture, and leadership, and provides insights on how to build and scale high-performing engineering organizations. The author draws on his experience at companies such as Digg, Uber, and Stripe, and provides practical advice on how to navigate the challenges of managing technical teams.