Team Complete: The Definitive Guide for Managers

Which of you software developers does not have Code Complete, by Steve McConnell, on his bookshelf? Only five of you? I thought so! That book is the single most popular publication ever for software developers.

Code Complete deals with just about everything a software developer needs to know, from requirements to coding styles, from estimation to debugging. And where the book doesn’t give answers directly, it at least tells you where you might find some more background material. Many software developers think Steve’s book is as brilliant as it is complete.

What if there was another book, called "Team Complete"?

Team Complete would handle everything a development manager needs to know, from people management to methodologies, from risk management to performance metrics, from process improvement to recruitment. And when the book doesn’t give you a direct answer, it would at least tell you where to find them. The book would be both an overview of the things a team manager can face in his daily job, as well as a how-to for some of the most common of his daily activities.

Alas, Team Complete does not exist… 🙁

I am very busy trying to write some book, though I'm unsure if I would be able to write that book. But if someone were to write "Team Complete", what kind of material should it include? What topics do you think it should cover to make it complete?

Let me know!

And if you think that a book like "Team Complete" already exists, under another name, please tell me which one!!

This blog is my attempt at trying to figure out what’s important for managers of software development. What’s keeping you busy as a manager? What’s keeping you awake? What’s making you pull the last strands of hair out of your head (or someone else's)?

Right now, I am far from having all the answers. But I love researching any problems team managers are facing, and trying to come up with solutions (if they don't exist already). And who knows, maybe in a couple of years… I might have collected enough material to bundle everything and release it as Team Complete. Hey, I might even bother Steve again and beg him to write its foreword. He gave me an interview, so why not?

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  • Keith Sader

    That book already exists – it’s called _Peopleware_ by Tom DeMarco and Timothy Lister.
    I’ve also found _Software for Your Head_ by Jim & Michelle McCarthy valuable as well.

  • Mike

    Rapid Development by Steve McConnell goes into many of the issues you mentioned; risk management, teamwork, motivation.

  • Jurgen Appelo

    @Keith: I disagree. the book “Peopleware” is only about (some) people management issues. There is nothing in it on risk management, process improvement, or any of the other topics is mentioned.
    However, I will check out “Software for Your Head”. Thanks for the reference!

  • Jurgen Appelo

    @Mike: I disagree. Risk management and motivation are not even mentioned in the index of Code Complete. So they are definately not covered seriously (at least not from a manager’s perspective).

  • Jp

    Mike’s talking about ‘Rapid Development’, not ‘Code Complete’. Same author, very different book. For example, the index entries for risks in ‘Rapid Development’ take up a full column….

  • Jurgen Appelo

    @Jp: Ah, I see. Sorry, Mike! It’s been quite a while since I read Rapid Development. I’ll check it out.

  • Lein

    “Behind Closed Doors” in “The Pragmatic Programmers” series has a lot of good tips for starting software team managers. It focuses on soft skills and organising a group, something that’s easily overlooked by techies that are cajoled into management. Lots of good references to further reading too.
    I also found a great deal of help in “Getting Results from Software Development Teams” by Lawrence Peters. Its main focus is on planning, tracking and organising software teams.

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