Books for software engineers and managers

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5 Books to Increase Productivity on Software Engineering  Teams

by Brian

Engineering Manager,
Tech Lead,
Star Engineer,
Startup Founder


Are you in a feature building rat race? Have you been looking for a way to measure engineering performance? Do you struggle with identifying objective goals for engineering?

These are the books engineering leaders need to understand and improve development team performance.

I’ve personally used these books to increase deployment frequency by +800% and ticket completion by 99% over three years, per engineer.

Read these books by yourself or with other engineering leaders at your company.


Building and Scaling High Performing Technology  Organizations

by Nicole Forsgren, Jez Humble, Gene Kim


Recommended: 10 / 10

Accelerate is a must read for anyone in a position of leading technical staff and wanting to measure their performance:

  • CEO
  • CTO
  • VP of Engineering and Director of Engineering
  • Engineering Manager
  • Tech Leads and Lead Developers

Accelerate presents the findings from a multi-year study of high performance software engineering teams and arrives at four key metrics for software delivery performance.

Fortunately, Accelerate is concise and well-written. The first 127 pages are critical to understanding software engineering team productivity, with the second half an optional description of the research methodology.

See top ideas from Accelerate

The DevOps Handbook

How to Create World-Class Agility, Reliability, & Security in Technology  Organizations

by Gene Kim, Jez Humble, Patrick Debois, and John Willis

The DevOps Handbook

Recommended: 10 / 10

While Accelerate identifies four specific and pragmatic goals for engineering, the rest is conceptual and you may wonder how to actually implement those ideas.

In comes The DevOps Handbook, with clear direction on engineering implementation.

The DevOps Handbook works for organizations of all sizes, with multiple case studies from both software companies and non-technical companies like Target.

My software engineering team read The DevOps Handbook together in book club and every engineer loved it.

See top ideas from The DevOps Handbook

High Output Management

by Andy Grove, 3rd Employee and former CEO of  Intel

High Output Management

Recommended: 9 / 10

High Output Management provides a framework to think about their own productivity, which reflects their team’s productivity.

As a software engineering manager, you’ll also find plenty of tips for meetings, 1:1s, and status reports inside of High Output Management.

See top ideas from High Output Management

The Lean Startup

How Today's Entrepreneurs Use Continuous Innovation to Create Radically Successful  Businesses

by Eric Ries, Former CTO of  IMVU

The Lean Startup

Recommended: 9 / 10

Are you tired of building feature after feature, unsure if your work is having an impact?

Software engineering is about more than shipping code. We need to know that customers are finding value in the work we deliver. That’s what The Lean Startup is all about.

More than agile processes and iterations, The Lean Startup is about discovering what customers want and developing a feedback loop that facilitates learning.

If your engineers can learn more faster about customer demands, their productivity will increase.

See top ideas from The Lean Startup

Outcomes Over Output

Why Customer Behavior is the Key Metric for Business  Success

by Joshua Seiden

Outcomes Over Output

Recommended: 8 / 10

If you’re not ready to read The Lean Startup, you should read Outcomes Over Outputs instead. This book is a shorter version of The Lean Startup, covering similar concepts like orienting your work around customer behavior changes, not long-term financial targets.

You can easily read his book in 1-2 hours.

See top ideas from Outcomes Over Output

5 Books to Increase Productivity on Software Engineering Teams