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edited by Gerald M. Weinberg, Marie Benesh, and James Bullock

Adapted from Roundtable on Technical Leadership. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved. See below for copyright notice.

Since Roundtable on Project Management, the first book in the Roundtable series, came out, we have received very favorable feedback from readers. People have said they appreciate the dialogue format and being able to read what the experts are talking about on SHAPE, Jerry Weinberg's online discussion forum.

This new Roundtable book, Roundtable on Technical Leadership, samples a different set of discussion threads from SHAPE. Nearly forty software developers, managers, and consultants contribute their advice, lessons, and experiences—and some confessions—about the tricks they've used, the ways they learn from and teach each other, and the ways they can become better professionals by accepting themselves as people. Each of these topics is a component of technical leadership: our ability to extend our technical skills to the people skills we need for every technical endeavor.

Being a technical leader doesn't require you to have some fancy title or to be approved in that role by management. But it does require you to understand how your use of tools and techniques affects the program, the product, and the productivity of those who work with you or follow you in maintenance.

From the sheer volume of discussion that made its way into this Roundtable, it's easy to see that there is no lack of creativity in the world of programming. That creativity can contribute to your technical leadership, depending on how it's applied. Sometimes, though, we get too creative in the way we get our work done. Follow this book's lively discussion of "stupid" programmer tricks to see if you recognize one of your own so-called clever tricks. I did.

Many of the discussions on SHAPE have centered on the facts and fallacies of technical leadership, especially with regard to the way leaders deal with people. There's the technologist who can't relate to human beings, the guru who knows all, the expert who mentors and teaches others, and the expert who can't or won't share his knowledge. In this SHAPE dialogue, the contributors discuss each of these personalities, and others, uncovering the myths and truths about what it really means to be a leader.

Regardless of the topic, the honesty and the humor these leaders bring to the table allow you to get a rare glimpse into the real life and psyche of technical leaders, from many industries and many walks of life. If you are a technical leader, you'll probably recognize yourself in these threads, and if you don't think you're a leader, you just may decide you'd like to become one.

February 2002            M.A.B.
Bath, New York

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COPYRIGHT NOTICE: This excerpt from Roundtable on Technical Leadership: A SHAPE Forum Dialogue [ISBN: 0-932633-51-X] appears by permission of Dorset House Publishing. Copyright © 2002 by Gerald M. Weinberg. All rights reserved. See http://www.dorsethouse.com/books/rtl.html. The material contained in this file may be shared for noncommercial purposes only, nonexclusively, provided that this Copyright Notice always appears with it. This material may not be combined with advertisements, online or in print, without explicit permission from Dorset House Publishing. For copies of the printed book or for permissions, contact Dorset House Publishing, 1-800-342-6657, 212-620-4053, http://www.dorsethouse.com, info@dorsethouse.com, New: 3143 Broadway, Suite 2B, New York, NY 10027 USA. Additional rights limitations apply, as presented in the Legal Disclaimer posted at http://www.dorsethouse.com/legal.html.



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