REVIEW - Leading a Software Development Team - A Developer's Guide to Successfully Leading People and Projects


Leading a Software Development Team

A Developer's Guide to Successfully Leading People and Projects


Richard Whitehead


Pearson Education (2001)




Paul Floyd


May 2012



The target audience is the newly promoted 1st level manager. Whitehead's advice seems to be mostly anecdotal. The advantage to this is that his observations often cut to the quick, certainly more so than the more blurry observations made by larger statistical studies or theoretical methodologists. As an example, I thought the the remarks about "Code-centred approach" (part 3 of Chapter 38) hit the mark very well. There are other occasions where I didn't agree with his views. His advice is more oriented towards achieving short-term goals. I would have liked to have seen more balance between that and the long term. Whitehead doesn't see much point in Non-Functional Requirements, whereas I feel that if you want long term quality goals like maintainability, then you're best specifying those objectives up front.

Another point that didn't match my experience is the idea that people get promoted to be managers because they are the best technically, and thus leading from a designer/architect role. From what I've seen, it's usually length of service and saying the right things to the level 2+ managers.

One last little quirk. A couple of times there is mention of subordinates wanting to play with the latest technology in order to pad out their CVs. That seems a strange consideration for deciding on how people should do their work.

Book cover image courtesy of Open Library.

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