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Managing programmers is hard! Becoming a successful manager requires a drastic change of focus. There are expectations to consider before making a leap to the “dark side.”
The transition from programmer to manager is made particularly challenging by the dramatic difference between what made us successful as programmers and what it takes to successfully manage others. In addition, programmers are an interesting management challenge.
We tend to be free spirits, playful, curious, and (very) independent.
How can you ease the transition into management? What’s management really about? What will you give up?
Ron Lichty wants to make software development better worldwide by advancing the practice of software development management. He has been alternating between consulting with and managing software development and product organizations for 25 years, almost all of those spent untangling the knots in software development and transforming chaos to clarity, the last 20 of those in the era of Agile. Originally a programmer, he earned several patents and wrote two popular programming books before being hired into his first management role by Apple Computer, which nurtured his managerial growth in both development and product management roles.
Principal and owner of Ron Lichty Consulting, Inc. (www.RonLichty.com), Ron has repeatedly been brought in as an acting CTO and interim vice president of engineering to solve development team challenges. He has trained teams in Scrum, transitioned teams from waterfall and iterative methodologies to agile, coached teams already using agile to make their software development "hum", and trained managers in managing software people and teams. In his continued search for effective best practices, Ron co-authors the Study of Product Team Performance (http://www.ronlichty.com/study.html).
Ron's most recent book is Managing the Unmanageable: Rules, Tools, and Insights for Managing Software People and Teams - http://www.ManagingTheUnmanageable.net. Published by Addison Wesley as both book and video training, it has been compared by reviewers to software development classics, The Mythical Man-Month and Peopleware.
During Ron's first three years at Charles Schwab, he led software development of the first investor tools on Schwab.com, playing a role in transforming the bricks-and-mortar discount brokerage into a premier name in online financial services. He was promoted to Schwab vice president while leading his CIO’s three-year technology initiative to migrate software development from any-language-goes to a single, cost-effective platform company-wide and nurturing Schwab's nascent efforts to leverage early Agile approaches. He has led products and development across a wide range of domains for companies of all sizes, from startups to the Fortune 500, including Fujitsu, Razorfish, Stanford, and Apple.
Ron co-chairs the Silicon Valley Engineering Leadership Community.