Book review: Management 3.0

A lot of management or process books discuss what has worked in the past for the author with the implication that it will work for you, too. Not Management 3.0 by Jurgen Appelo. His main theme is that software development is hard, complex, and chaotic. There are too many variables with too many unknowns. Not only would what worked for him probably not work for you, but what used to work for you may not work anymore.

Because of this chaotic environment, your best bet is train and empower your team so that their judgement can find the best path. It is hopeless to try to micro-manage them. This book is the author’s attempt to train and empower you. He does not tell you what to do; he gives research and information for you to figure out the best combination for your particular situation. He discusses his research into the various aspects of software management – ideal team size, how to motivate, proper amount of empowerment, etc – so that you can use what you think is useful.

While the subtitle is ‘Leading Agile Developers, Developing Agile Leaders,’ this is not a process book. He discusses Agile, uses it as examples, and continuously discusses how the manager can achieve Agile principles. However, the book is about managing and the ideas should be just as useful in a Waterfall office.


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