Saturday, February 14, 2009

Behind Closed Doors: working with people

Behind Closed Doors: Secrets of Great Management (Pragmatic Programmers) Behind Closed Doors: Secrets of Great Management by Johanna Rothman

My review

rating: 4 of 5 stars
A good book with clear ideas that are well presented.

The over all human-focus to the techniques is excellent and very relevant for managing in a collaborative workplace. There are techniques for coaching, delegating, prioritising and planning, giving feedback, facilitation and oodles of others. The descriptions of the techniques are short but the brevity of lessons does not reflect a lack of usefulness, rather a deep understanding and distillation of the essentials.

The book has a story as well as factual advice. Having the story can give the reader a greater understanding of the application of the techniques, as well as taking the lessons out the fact/instructional education mindset and making the lessons more humanly applicable - it is a book about dealing with other humans. Unfortunately the dialogue is contrived (ok, as it's fictional it must be), and Sam is a some kind of omniscient super-manager who always has the right answer, rather than a real person dealing with the complexity of dealing with people. It was ok, but not great.

Having the Techniques section at the end is fantastic, this shows great respect for the people who will use this book saving them from trawling through the pages looking for these handy tidbits.

Despite the the story line I think it's well worth the read, and I should have pulled it off the shelf much earlier than I did.

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