Can You Manage Software Developers?

“Herding Cats” is one of the many analogies that are mentioned about the difficulties of managing software developers. If it is difficult, it doesn’t mean that you should try. In this case, the book ” Managing the Unmanageable” contains material that could help you in this adventure. Based on the experience of two seasoned software development manager, it proposes practical advice on how to hire and manage software development professionals.

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Reference: “Managing the Unmanageable: Rules, Tools, and Insights for Managing Software People and Teams”, Mickey W. Mantle, Ron Lichty, Addison-Wesley, IBSN 978-0321822031

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There are many programmers. However, there are not that many great programmers.

Finally, we have both been ardent proponents for all of our careers of requiring code reviews. Knowing that others will review their code leads programmers to be more painstaking so they won’t be caught having made silly mistakes. The act of explaining their work has long been shown to help programmers spot errors they would not otherwise have seen. And all the studies show it is much more cost-effective to fix problems when code is fresh in its programmer’s mind than later when caught by QA or users and it’s stale. Furthermore, code reviews can serve as a way to mentor junior programmers to code better. Fundamentally, second and third sets of eyes see problems the initial coder would not, which leads us to require code reviews of every check-in, and frequently even double reviews of check-ins as we increase vigilance approaching a code freeze. It can be challenging to get a practice of code reviews started. Programmers may be reluctant to submit their code, fearing criticism. You can overcome their reluctance by recruiting your most senior programmers to lead. You can overcome your own reluctance to distract your team by limiting the number of reviewers to two to four, but requiring participation from invitees.