Since Roundtable on Project Management,
the first book in the Roundtable series, came out, we have received very
favorable feedback from readers. People have said they appreciate the dialogue
format and being able to read what the experts are talking about on SHAPE, Jerry
Weinberg's online discussion forum.
This new Roundtable book, Roundtable
on Technical Leadership, samples a different set of discussion threads from
SHAPE. Nearly forty software developers, managers, and consultants contribute
their advice, lessons, and experiencesand some confessionsabout the
tricks they've used, the ways they learn from and teach each other, and the ways
they can become better professionals by accepting themselves as people. Each of
these topics is a component of technical leadership: our ability to extend our
technical skills to the people skills we need for every technical endeavor.
Being a technical leader doesn't require you to have some fancy title or to be
approved in that role by management. But it does require you to understand how
your use of tools and techniques affects the program, the product, and the productivity
of those who work with you or follow you in maintenance.
From the sheer
volume of discussion that made its way into this Roundtable, it's easy
to see that there is no lack of creativity in the world of programming. That creativity
can contribute to your technical leadership, depending on how it's applied. Sometimes,
though, we get too creative in the way we get our work done. Follow this book's
lively discussion of "stupid" programmer tricks to see if you recognize
one of your own so-called clever tricks. I did.
Many of the discussions
on SHAPE have centered on the facts and fallacies of technical leadership, especially
with regard to the way leaders deal with people. There's the technologist who
can't relate to human beings, the guru who knows all, the expert who mentors and
teaches others, and the expert who can't or won't share his knowledge. In this
SHAPE dialogue, the contributors discuss each of these personalities, and others,
uncovering the myths and truths about what it really means to be a leader.
Regardless of the topic, the honesty and the humor these leaders bring to the
table allow you to get a rare glimpse into the real life and psyche of technical
leaders, from many industries and many walks of life. If you are a technical leader,
you'll probably recognize yourself in these threads, and if you don't think you're
a leader, you just may decide you'd like to become one.