The Manager’s Path: A Guide for Tech Leaders Navigating Growth and Change

The Manager’s Path: A Guide for Tech Leaders Navigating Growth and Change


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Managing people is difficult wherever you work. But in the tech industry, where management is also a technical discipline, the learning curve can be brutal—especially when there are few tools, texts, and frameworks to help you. In this practical guide, author Camille Fournier (tech lead turned CTO) takes you through each stage in the journey from engineer to technical manager.

From mentoring interns to working with senior staff, you’ll get actionable advice for approaching various obstacles in your path. This book is ideal whether you’re a New manager, a mentor, or a more experienced leader looking for fresh advice. Pick up this book and learn how to become a better manager and leader in your organization.

  • Begin by exploring what you expect from a manager
  • Understand what it takes to be a good mentor, and a good tech lead
  • Learn how to manage individual members while remaining focused on the entire team
  • Understand how to manage yourself and avoid common pitfalls that challenge many leaders
  • Manage multiple teams and learn how to manage managers
  • Learn how to build and bootstrap a unifying culture in teams


From the Publisher

Management, manager, leadership, entrepreneur, CIO,Management, manager, leadership, entrepreneur, CIO,

How to Read This Book

This book is separated into chapters that cover increasing levels of management complexity. The first chapter describes the basics of how to be managed, and what to expect from a manager. The next two chapters cover mentoring and being a tech lead, which are both critical steps on the management path. For the experienced manager, these chapters have some notes on how you might approach managing people in these roles. The following four chapters talk about people management, team management, management of multiple teams, and managing managers. The last chapter on the management path, Chapter 8, is all about senior leadership.

For the beginning manager, it may be enough to read the first three or four chapters for now and skim the rest, returning when you start to face those challenges. For the experienced manager, you may prefer to focus on the chapters around the level that you’re currently struggling with. Interspersed throughout are sections with three recurring themes:

Ask the CTO

These are brief interludes to discuss a specific issue that tends to come up at each of the various levels.

Good Manager, Bad Manager

These sections cover common dysfunctions of engineering managers, and provide some strategies for identifying these bad habits and overcoming them. Each section is placed in the chapter/level that is most likely to correspond to the dysfunction, but these dysfunctions are often seen at every level of experience.

Camille Fournier, management, leadershipCamille Fournier, management, leadership

Challenging Situations

Starting in Chapter 4, I take some time to discuss challenging situations that might come up. Again, while these are roughly placed with the level that is most appropriate, you may find useful information in them regardless of your current level.

Chapter 9 is a bit of a wildcard, aimed at those trying to set up, change, or improve the culture of their team. While it was written from a perspective of a startup leader, I think that much of it will apply to those coming into new companies or running teams that need an uplift in their culture and processes.

More than an inspirational leadership book for a general-purpose audience, I wanted to write something worthy of the O’Reilly imprint, something you can refer back to over time in the same way you might refer to Programming Perl. Think of this book as a reference manual for engineering managers, a book focused on practical tips that I hope will be useful to you throughout your management career.

Also by Camille Fournier

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