One of the most significant personal revelations I have had in the past five years has been around the relevance and importance of high-quality engineering management and leadership. From my observations, poor engineering leadership has a negative and cascading effect throughout the product development process, and can substantially improve or degrade the overall performance of the company. As I have previously written, I now appreciate how engineering leadership is a specific skill set which requires practice, growth, and it’s own specialization.
For my own growth, I have found books to be useful from the domains of: general management, executive management practices, leadership, and product management. I haven’t found much really compelling that is specific for engineering management and have instead resorted to pattern-matching and pilfering ideas from other industries. What I have found most useful have been books on general leadership practices and principles.
I prefer to think of my job as leadership not management. Management is what we do when we’re overseeing a complex machine. Leadership is what we do when we’re overseeing and working with complex groups of people. I find that helps reframe the job from pulling levers and pushing buttons, to one of politics and persuasion.
This list is certainly not comprehensive and is wholly based on my opinion.
I am currently pulling together an informal group of remote engineering managers and leaders across companies. I’m hoping that by creating a peer-support group, we will be able to help each other grow and solve problems. If this strikes you as interesting, please email me (rtyler@) and say hello!