When I first became a Software Manager, I was pretty lost, not sure what to do or where to start. I was pretty lucky in that I had a strong supporting environment and picked things up over time.
Recently I was reading the book – “The Successful Software Manager” by Herman Fung and this brought me back to that first day to when I wasn’t sure where to start, what to work on, where I should be focusing my time and what I should be looking to do next week, month, year, etc with the team.
Over the years, I’ve watched colleagues go through the same struggle and when reading Herman’s book I immediately thought what a great primer for giving managers a leg up on not only getting started but what they have signed up for.
The book covers everything in getting started on your Software Manager journey (from agile to team meetings to marketing to stakeholders, EVERYTHING) and if you’re not a developer, that’s cool too, this is a great book for Product Managers or other Testers that are embarking on their software journey.
Two chapters I want to call out (and oddly enough they are back to back) are the chapters on “Asking the Right Questions to Your Users” and “Meetings”
Asking the Right Questions to Your Users
This is one of the more short chapters in the book, but it’s one of the most powerful. Understanding who you are writing code for, what your team is delivering, who the end consumers are and what type of users are going to access your platform are critical for successful software delivery. I have seen groups that knew they were delivering for an internal group or customer category but didn’t know what the profile of those users were. The breakdown here is fantastic the context and different types of Users.
The title says it all in one word. As a Software Manager, this is one of the biggest adjustments you will face after being recently promoted. Where your calendar was sprinkled with meetings here and there, now your day will be full with them and the goal is for you to determine how to get the most out of those meetings so you’re not wasting yours and your team’s time. I especially liked the section on “Be Prepared to Talk” as you can’t always sit back and simply “attend” a meeting, you need to go in with the attitude that you will be part of the discussion and contribute.