Behind Closed Doors: Secrets of Great Management Paperback – Sep 29 2005
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""Rothman and Derby bring a clarity and honesty to the craft of software-development management that I haven't felt since first reading Demarco and Lister's classic, Peopleware. Their story-based teaching style is engaging, and the tips contained provide a valuable reference for those who find themselves in the world of management.""--Bil Kleb, Research Scientist, NASA
""Five Star Review: All the great stuff is here... Easy to read and understand.""""
--Robert Pritchett, macCompanion
About the Author
Johanna Rothman helps leaders solve problems and seize opportunities. She consults, speaks, and writes on managing high-technology product development. She enables managers, teams, and organizations to become more effective by applying her pragmatic approaches to the issues of project management, risk management, and people management. Johanna publishes The Pragmatic Manager, a monthly email newsletter and podcast, and writes two blogs: Managing Product Development and Hiring Technical People. She is the author of several books: - Manage It! Your Guide to Modern, Pragmatic Project Management - Behind Closed Doors: Secrets of Great Management (with Esther Derby) - Hiring the Best Knowledge Workers, Techies & Nerds: The Secrets and Science of Hiring Technical People - Corrective Action for the Software Industry (with Denise Robitaille).
Top Customer Reviews
The premise of Johanna Rothman and Esther Derby's new book is that a lot of the skills necessary to be a great manager are not readily observable but happen in private with their interactions with their staff and colleagues Behind Closed Doors. The book follows Sam, a manager recently brought into an organization, over a 7 week period in 7 chapters; one per week. Each week has a broad goal to achieve such as "Learning about the People and Work" (week One) and "Managing Day to Day" (week Four). Within each chapter there are scenarios Sam encountered that week to achieve the week's goal. This structure is one of the stronger points of the points as the book as it transforms the narrative into a checklist for the reader's own managerial growth.
Another valuable item in the book in the series of short (most are only two pages) "Techniques for Practicing Great Management". These cover everything from coaching to running an effective meeting. These tips can be applied almost immediately and have a positive impact on an organization.
I enjoyed Behind Closed Door and my copy has lots of notes in the margins of ways I can apply the content. While the content is geared towards the new or slightly experienced manager, I would recommend it even those who have been doing it for awhile due to the breadth and applicability of the topics covered.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Perhaps my only issue is glossing over some of the gnarlier situations I believe most IS managers have to confront eventually - for instance what happens when you give negative feedback and the person doesn't relate in any way what you're telling them or perhaps agrees but thinks the issue is unimportant? To me the easy case is when you give feedback and the person agrees or at least comes up with some cogent reasons why they think I'm wrong. At this point I know the person thinks I'm the pointy haired manager and I'm totally certain I'm not the only manager that experienced this. The book says such a person will "not change" - no kidding but where do you go from here?
I actually have a longer list than this - but the point is I think there are a lot of real and challenging situations especially for IT and technical management not covered. OTOH, the suggestions the book does comes up with are mostly excellent well explained and easy to implement and I think anyone with any level of management experience will pick up priceless suggestions from this book - and I'm usually extremely cynical about new management methodologies!!
Maybe a later more intermediate/advanced book will cover some of the more difficult situations? If there's a website, blog, set of seminars etc available I'd be interested in hearing about it!!
Overall, there are many positive points to this book, including a fresh perspective, enjoyable to read prose, and especially the 13 key techniques. For new managers, I would definitely recommend this book. For experienced managers, it might serve as a decent review of the fundamentals, but it probably won't be a huge help.
Even though the book was written for project managers, I found the thoughts and ideas in the book very applicable to my day-to-day work as a technical lead. I discussed the 'common sense' ideas in the book with my manager and it has made a real difference in the communication amongst team members.
I definitely recommend this to any leader or manager.
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