An Elegant Puzzle

Systems of Engineering Management

hardcover, 288 pages

Published May 20, 2019 by Stripe Press.

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4 stars (4 reviews)

A human-centric guide to solving complex problems in engineering management, from sizing teams to handling technical debt.

There’s a saying that people don’t leave companies, they leave managers. Management is a key part of any organization, yet the discipline is often self-taught and unstructured. Getting to the good solutions for complex management challenges can make the difference between fulfillment and frustration for teams—and, ultimately, between the success and failure of companies.

Will Larson’s An Elegant Puzzle focuses on the particular challenges of engineering management—from sizing teams to handling technical debt to performing succession planning—and provides a path to the good solutions. Drawing from his experience at Digg, Uber, and Stripe, Larson has developed a thoughtful approach to engineering management for leaders of all levels at companies of all sizes. An Elegant Puzzle balances structured principles and human-centric thinking to help any leader create more effective and rewarding organizations for engineers …

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Review of 'An Elegant Puzzle' on 'Goodreads'

5 stars

I find Business books fall into two categories, psychological research then applied to business, or a group of tactics from a particular persons experience.

This is the latter, and because of it, if your organisations aren't like the organisations of the author, you might struggle to apply these.

Having said that, of the books I have read that are like that, this is by far the best, and takes a kind, learning and systems thinking based approach to most of the tactics described within.

The advice is practical and I can see myself using it as a reference. As it's from a collection of blog posts I would recommend treating each part as a single isolated unit, rather than viewing the work as whole.