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

by: Camille Fournier (0)

Managing people is difficult wherever you work. But in the tech industry, where management is also a technical discipline, the learning curve can be brutal—especially when there are few tools, texts, and frameworks to help you. In this practical guide, author Camille Fournier (tech lead turned CTO) takes you through each stage in the journey from engineer to technical manager.

From mentoring interns to working with senior staff, you’ll get actionable advice for approaching various obstacles in your path. This book is ideal whether you’re a New manager, a mentor, or a more experienced leader looking for fresh advice. Pick up this book and learn how to become a better manager and leader in your organization.

  • Begin by exploring what you expect from a manager
  • Understand what it takes to be a good mentor, and a good tech lead
  • Learn how to manage individual members while remaining focused on the entire team
  • Understand how to manage yourself and avoid common pitfalls that challenge many leaders
  • Manage multiple teams and learn how to manage managers
  • Learn how to build and bootstrap a unifying culture in teams.

The Quotes

Especially as you become more senior, remember that your manager expects you to bring solutions, not problems.

My job as tech lead was to continue to write code, but with the added responsibilities of representing the group to management, vetting our plans for feature delivery, and dealing with a lot of the details of the project management process.

Good managers know that delivering feedback quickly is more valuable than waiting for a convenient time to say something.

Great managers notice when your normal energy level changes, and will hopefully care enough to ask you about it.

Ideally, the feedback you get from your manager will be somewhat public if it’s praise, and private if it’s criticism.

The Reviews

Becoming an effective leader — technical or not — requires making big lateral jumps in scope, type of work, and how you engage with your and surrounding teams. The sooner you realize that "what got you here won't help you there", the faster you can make a successful transition (or backtrack!) and less pain everyone will endure.Camille provides a great, unvarnished and hands-on tour of her own career from an engineer to a tech lead, to manager (lead and manager are often confused and conflated, but are very different roles), to manager of managers (a MoM :)), to executive leader responsible for aligning product and technical execution. As you would expect, the story is a rollercoaster with many wins and just as many setbacks and lessons along the way. The good news is, we can all learn from Camille's experience without repeating all (or some, at least) the same mistakes.The strength of this book is that it takes you all the way from engineer to CTO, with hands-on illustrations in major role and expectation (both the good and the bad) shifts along the way: we all know that Director or VP that clings on to writing code at a detriment to their team; a TL that hordes decision making; a MoM that lost touch with technical foundation of the product; etc. This book will help you avoid these traps, both in your own career and on your team.In short, a modern hands-on manual for both the aspiring and existing technical leaders, and a sound time investment — read it.

I am an experienced technology executive and consultant for engineering managers and execs. Based on my experience, this book is now the best book you can buy to learn modern engineering management.Previous contenders have included Peopleware, High-Output Management, The Mythical Man-Month, Good To Great, and others you've probably heard of. They are fine books, but they are either somewhat out of date, overly general, or a combination of both. This book is different. Fournier's book is a comprehensive overview of all the roles on the career path of modern technical management (starting from "senior engineer mentoring an intern" all the way up to CTO) and how to deal with the challenges at every step of the way.What sets this book apart, other than being comprehensive, is that it is the product of direct and highly relevant experience. Fournier has worked at huge companies, small startups, and medium-sized companies, all in hyper-competitive industry settings. You've probably read other management books and it always goes like this: they give you a piece of general advice about how to deal with an issue. You try it (assuming it is even specific enough to put into action and isn't just a feel-good HR platitude), you run into a snag, and now the advice is useless because the rosy assurances in the book about how employees were going to act reasonably didn't really work. You throw the book away and think there is something wrong with you because everyone keeps on talking about how the book is great and it's just your fault that you couldn't make this great advice work.Fournier's advice is not like that.She starts with the general outlines of the strategy, but then tells you about times when she had to confront the issue herself, how she tried to apply the strategy and screwed up (there are instances in the book where she openly admits "The first time I tried this I fell flat on my face"), what kinds of problems kept the strategy from working, how she modified the strategy and overcame the problems, and finally and most importantly, wraps up with a summary about how context and trade-offs affect how you apply the advice. Acknowledging and explaining how common variations and implementation details determine how a general strategy will play out is what makes this book unusually useful and relevant.Because everyone's job and situation are a little bit different, Fournier does an excellent job of breaking down broad strategies into their core principles, while separating out which details you can change based on individual situations, so that you can choose between trade-offs when you apply the strategy to the specific challenge you are confronting.Lastly, this book will give you confidence. Confidence that you're not alone, that others have faced the same problems and surmounted them, that you can do it too. Confidence that you can screw something up but still pick up the pieces and try again, that you'll still get it right the second or third time, and that you are going to get to where you want to go.This book is the product of years of tough lessons and hard-won success. Buy it. You won't regret it.

Every engineer, lead, and manager should read this book. As a tech lead in my second full-time software engineering job, this book was exactly what I needed to give me perspective and insight on what to expect of my team and managers, and what might soon be expected of me. I suspect it would do the same for anyone, anywhere on their career track.Don't be worried that this paperback appears thin when you receive it -- it's full of outlines, examples, and actionable advice to help you digest what's going on in the team around you, and begin making some positive recommendations. Written conversationally with each chapter divided into short sections, it's easy to pick up, put down, and come back to when you have time. One of my favorite features about this book: every chapter ends with a page or so of targeted questions based on that chapter's content to help you think critically about your own role.

If you are in technology but not software development not all of the guidance is going to be relatable. The first few chapters are on the relationship of you being a contributor and dealing with a tech manager. There are a few chapters in the middle with really useful ideas for new managers of a team. Then the book inexplicably goes down the management of multiple teams (director, vp, c-level). Why like a third of a book for people just transitioning into tech management is spent on roles you won’t be in for years or decades down the road is beyond me.Recommendation - look for a used copy in good condition and don’t pay more than $10 for it.

This book is specifically about managing software engineers. For that purpose this book is more concrete and practical than any other I have read. The concepts are explained well and backed up by good examples.

Not a bad book. My favorite part is on pages 40-42 where the author explains the imaginary vs. real life of an individual contributor vs. manager. Other things I liked are e.g., tips like developing some redundancy so that no one is indispensible and that when you get into the big leagues you might need to reach out to someone externally for coaching - you no longer have a manager, you have a boss. I mostly learnt (and still learning) much of the advice in the book through practice rather than formal training or education. I take off one star from the book because its mostly 101 and skips the really difficult parts of management much of which I think has to be learnt from coaching and experience. It does not skip them entirely but IMO lacks better coverage and explanation through specific real-world examples.* How to handle disagreements and conflict? The answer to this varies depending upon who you are dealing with in the organization.* How to handle insubordination or someone undermining you?* How to handle non-performing individuals and teams?Often management has two sides - the one that is taught in books etc. and the one that is practiced.In short, I feel management is closely tied to understanding human psychology and psychology of collective individuals (teams). To become effective manager you have to master human psychology. That is what its all about.Overall recommended.

The book had some interesting points but also some issues. First, it is mostly based on authors opinions, not proven facts, research etc. Also, the topics on product management are very superficial. Clearly outside the expertise of the author.

It turned out when we decided to move the medicine cabinet to the opposite wall during a bathroom remodel that there were pipes behind that area. That means we had to go from an in-wall installation to an on-wall installation, and this kit allowed us to do that an keep the great look of the medicine cabinet that we wanted.

For the price of the product and cabinet it fits it should fit better. You can see a fairly large gap on the hinge side of the cabinet and it cannot be fixed.

Great fit. OEM. Easy install.

I got a copy to learn better about mainstream management. After reading, I now understand much better the behavior and the decisions of my (good) managers. Also, now I know which nasty habits my bad managers should have changed.Read it, you will learn the steps to being a good manager. If you're a manager and there are a lot of people fleeing your company, please study this material.

The Manager's Path: A Guide for Tech Leaders Navigating Growth and Change
⭐ 4.6 💛 1799
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paperback: $25.03
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