REVIEW - The Manager Pool - Patterns for Radical Leadership


The Manager Pool - Patterns for Radical Leadership


Don Sherwood Olson, Carol L. Stimmel




Addison-Wesley Professional (2002)




Roger N Lever


June 2002



The focal point for this book is to present what it describes as a series of patterns that can be applied to the management of people in a software development project. The inspiration for this work comes from the software pattern community and like Gamma et al the patterns are split into similar groups. The authors have chosen to use the following grouping:

1) Psychological and retentive patterns

2) Behaviour and expulsive patterns

3) Strategic patterns

4) Tactical patterns

5) Environmental patterns

Each grouping has approximately a dozen patterns with a carefully chosen name or what the authors call a handle. The purpose of these is to allow each pattern to be easily cross-referenced with other patterns and the authors hope to pass into common understanding of the pattern itself. A central premise for this work is the creation of a manager pool that software development teams choose their manager of choice. In essence what would that manager need to be like and to do to be chosen to lead a software development team.

Each pattern also starts with a picture that the authors submit is vaguely relevant to the pattern. These inter-related patterns deal with the human elements of a project and are very much focused around the team management aspects rather than for example good software practice, development tools and technique. The use of the term pattern is really a literary device and would hardly qualify when compared to their software equivalents.

Programmers will find very little of interest here, except perhaps to hear the authors' ideas on how best to run a development team. Managers may find some ideas useful and probably disagree with others. The book is more of a wish list of how the authors would like to see teams operate and whilst some of it has value and is relevant I find it difficult to recommend this book. This is because the book is less about managerial patterns and more about the authors' opinion of good management practice.

Book cover image courtesy of Open Library.