How to Win Friends and Influence Peopleware
June 21, 2014 12:07 PM   Subscribe

What books can I read about the people side of managing software developers, as opposed to the process side?

So, I'm a software developer and I've been promoted to a management position in the last few months. I've spent my whole career learning about the process of delivering software and working in teams to get things done. I feel great about how that part of the job is going, and I have a great relationship with my superiors who value the process I've put in place and the work I've done recruiting to fill development roles on the team.

However, guess what, I've got some employees who are uncooperative. I have one very smart, very talented developer who I hired who seems to be straight up oppositional, in that they seem to take a strong position against whatever I've proposed on certain issues. They refuse to do things that I've asked them to, refusing to accept my rationale for their necessity as valid.

My thinking all along has been that not every work environment is for everyone and people I have this level of disagreement on basic values with will probably ultimately find another place to work, and that's fine. But at the same time, the job market for programmers is excellent and recruiting isn't going as well as it has in the past. In short, this programmer is difficult to work with, and difficult to replace.

It takes two to have a conflict, of course, and I'm aware that I can be overly direct or dismissive. I don't think I'm being totally unreasonable, but I'm sure I could do a better job of working with people in a way that promotes collaboration and leads to less friction.

Okay, so I could ask for advice here about getting buy in from difficult employees, and I want that, but what I really want is a reading list. I've read all of the classics about the management of software projects. What are the books I can read about the delicate job of influencing the people who work for me to want to do what I ask them to? One of my co-workers suggested How To Win Friends and Influence
. I'm also thinking of Demarco's Peopleware, though that still seems to be pretty process oriented. What else?
posted by anonymous to Work & Money (4 answers total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
Rands in Repose will likely be helpful. He has a book, Managing Humans, developed from the website, as well.
posted by jaguar at 12:16 PM on June 21, 2014 [5 favorites]

Surprised no one has mentioned The Mythical Man Month yet. And think about firing that guy.
posted by seasparrow at 6:59 PM on June 21, 2014 [1 favorite]

Like you said, the market is great for programmers lately; like it or not, they expect to be able to openly voice their opinions and take some ownership of the product.

It is kind of a rough read, but the approach, if not the techniques, in Nonviolent Communicationmay help you get to the bottom of why he seems to oppose you and to help establish consensus within the team.
posted by ignignokt at 8:33 AM on June 22, 2014

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