Engineering Management Books

Transitioning roles from an IC software engineer to engineering management can feel like an entirely new career, partly it is! There's no formal pathway into software leadership and management, but there's a lot of great knowledge out there in books. Some are traditional leadership and management books that apply to every industry, others are more technical and focused around delivering software. These folks have been here before and thought deeply about these areas of management and leadership. This is an incomplete list of books I've found valuable for software engineering managers and continue to update as I read more. I've loosely categorised the books, as follows:

Manangement, Leadership

Dare to Lead by Brene Brown

What is good leadership? Brene Brown attemps to define this in Dare to Lead. Whether it's recognising potential, taking responsibility or not pretending to have all of the answers. A big part of this book and a lot of what Brene writes about is vulnerability and courage. The need to be more vulnerable in leadership.

Turn the ship around

David Marquet

Software Engineering Management specific

The Manager's path

Camille Fournier

An Elegant Puzzle: Systems of Engineering Management

Will Larson

Systems & Systems thinking

Thinking in Systems: A primer

Donella Meadows

The Goal

Eliyahu Goldratt

Coaching, feedback, communiation

The Coaching Habit

Michael Bungay Stanier

Radical Candor

Kim Scott


Good Strategy, Bad Strategy

Richard P. Rumelt

Playing to Win

A. G. Lafely, Roger L Martin

Yet to read

Books I'm yet to read, but added to my to my reading list:

  • The Essential Drucker by Peter Drucker
  • The first 90 days by Michael Watkins