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The Manager's Path by Camille Fournier [Book Review]

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@azarboonMahdi Azarboon

Digital Transformer |Investor | Bitcoin hodler

A book review of ''The Manager's Path: A Guide for Tech Leaders Navigating Growth and Change'' by Camille Fournier. Find out whether the book is right for you.

You can find all my reviews & publications here.

Title:

The Manager's Path: A Guide for Tech Leaders Navigating Growth and Change by Camille Fournier

Summary:

The book provides lots of insights and tips. Obviously, I cannot mention them all, but here are my key takeaways:

  • Do not become a manager just to make more money. Managers can end up having more stressful job, with higher responsibility and lower pay than their subordinates have. Your subordinate staff engineer can make much more than you.
  • If you aspire to become a manager/lead, start practicing it by mentoring interns/new hires.
  • Treat the people the way you like to be treated. Did you like a specific behavior of your former manager? Then replicate the same for your subordinates.
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  • As a tech lead, you should be an expert in what you do and be willing to help others at will. Avoid acting as an individual contributor while being a lead. Communication and team playing are crucial.
  • Frequent, frank and constructive one on one meetings are crucial (with your manager and subordinates). Do not skip/underestimate them; otherwise, you will see the consequences. Managers should provide good & bad feedbacks frequently.If something is wrong, the manager should immediately provide feedback and try to resolve it ASAP. Avoid postponing it; otherwise, the issue gets bigger and worse.
  • Managers should always be curious about everything including their subordinates. They should listen carefully and avoid dominating conversation. They should establish personal rapport with subordinates as it boosts productivity. Subordinates should feel comfortable sharing their major personal event with the manager, if needed. However, managers should be careful not to become too close with any subordinate as it can affect his decision-making in favour of the team member.
  • Manager / tech lead should stay technical, but most probably they wonโ€™t have time to remain hands-on. Therefore, they can do tasks, which serve the purpose with less effort, e.g code, review, debugging. Avoid acting as an individual contributor, while being tech lead.
  • Managers should have discipline with team members who have excellent technical skills but are hard to work with i.e. brilliant jerk. Brilliant jerks know the product very well, can do a great job as individual contributors, yet they are terrible team players and make the atmosphere difficult for others to work. Managers should make brilliant jerks to understand that they need respect the rules and team members.
  • Subordinates follow behaviors of their manager. If he shouts, they shout too. If he apologizes for his mistakes, they do too, and so on. So, be a good role model for your team.
  • If you are involved with a decision-making process and you notice that, there is something wrong: raise your concern and provide your rational arguments. Yet, if the team eventually agreed to make a decision (which you disagree with), still you should work as a team and support the decision even if you disagree with it

Pros: The book broadens perspectives about team management best practices and provides some good insights for people who would like to advance their career into managerial / leadership. The author has advice for people in different levels: software engineer, manager and manager of managers. So, readers at different levels can benefit from the book.

Cons: not much actionable insights especially on how to encounter difficult situations

Who should or should not read the book?

Anyone (at any level) who would like to grow his/her career and manage humans. The book provides insights for enthusiasts at different levels to grow their career to the next level.

The author has divided the book into different sections, so readers (e.g. manager of managers) can read only the section which is relevant to them. Personally, I read all the sections mainly to broaden my perspective.

I would like to thank Camille Fournier for writing the book. I'll be sure to write more book reviews. Please share your feedback so I can improve my reviews over the time. You can follow me on LinkedIn / Twitter to stay tuned.

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