An Elegant Puzzle: Systems of Engineering Management


Price: $9.99
(as of Feb 11,2021 15:13:01 UTC – Details)


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 of complex management challenges can make the difference between fulfillment and frustration for teams, and, ultimately, the success or failure of companies.

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


From the Publisher

will larson, business culture, business growth, engineering management, management philosophywill larson, business culture, business growth, engineering management, management philosophy

will larson, business culture, business growth, engineering management, management philosophy

will larson, business culture, business growth, engineering management, management philosophy

will larson, business culture, business growth, engineering management, management philosophy

will larson, business culture, business growth, engineering management, management philosophy

will larson, business culture, business growth, engineering management, management philosophy

will larson, business culture, business growth, engineering management, management philosophy

‘A masterful study of engineering management’

“An Elegant Puzzle is a masterful study of the challenges and demands of the discipline of engineering management viewed through the prism of systems thinking. Readers can expect an actionable template for addressing complex problems with finesse, creativity and fairness.”

—Cindy Sridharan, Distributed Systems Engineer and author of Distributed Systems Observability

‘Captures the timeless spirit of creative problem-solving’

“Software engineering is evolving faster than ever before. What principles are durable in a time of so much change and what are the contemporary pain points that may change in the future but cannot be ignored today? In An Elegant Puzzle, Will Larson captures the timeless spirit of creative problem-solving that draws us to software engineering while also providing concrete strategies for modern organizations.”

—Jeffrey Meyerson, Host of Software Engineering Daily

‘An Elegant Puzzle will become your favorite go-to resource’

“Engineering Managers can often feel like they are struggling to keep their head above the water. Our technical training is missing the frameworks and tools needed to build healthy and productive teams. The insights and step-by-step approach covered in An Elegant Puzzle will become your favorite go-to resource.”

—Oren Ellenbogen, VP Engineering at Forter, Curator of Software Lead Weekly newsletter

will larson, business culture, business growth, engineering management, management philosophywill larson, business culture, business growth, engineering management, management philosophy

About the author

Will Larson has been an engineering leader and software engineer at technology companies of many shapes and sizes, including Yahoo!, Digg, SocialCode, Uber, and, since 2016, Stripe.

He grew up in North Carolina, studied Computer Science at Centre College in Kentucky, spent a year in Japan for the JET Program teaching English, and has been living in San Francisco since 2009.

An Elegant Puzzle draws from the writing in his blog, Irrational Exuberance!, that he has been updating since graduating from college. It is currently, and will always be, a work in progress.

An introduction from Will Larson

Some people go into management out of a desire to be of service. Others become managers in a cynical pact, exchanging excitement in their current role for the prospect of continued salary bumps and promotions. There are even folks who initially go into management because they’re entirely fed up with their own manager and are convinced that they could do better.

I won’t say which of those, if any, describes me.

Regardless of what motivation first brings you into management, it can feel as if you’ve entered a troubled profession. Skilled practitioners are scarce, and only the exceptional company is willing to invest in growing its managers.

As I’ve become more experienced, my appreciation for management, and engineering management in particular, has grown, and I’ve come to view the field as a series of elegant, rewarding, and important puzzles. This book is a collection of those puzzles, which I’ve had the good fortune to struggle with and learn from.

If you finish the entire book, you won’t walk into your office the next day as a perfect manager (I remain grateful for the days I walk into the office feeling like a marginally competent one), but I hope that it’ll stimulate questions about how you’re approaching management, provide a few new approaches for you to experiment with, and help you take a few steps further down the path of engineering management.

stripe press, innovation, new ideas, business, creative managementstripe press, innovation, new ideas, business, creative management

About the publisher

Stripe Press publishes books about economic and technological advancement. Stripe partners with hundreds of thousands of the world’s most innovative businesses—organizations that will shape the world of tomorrow. These businesses are the result of many different inputs. Perhaps the most important ingredient is “ideas.” Stripe Press highlights ideas that we think can be broadly useful. Some books contain entirely new material, some are collections of existing work reimagined, and others are republications of previous works that have remained relevant over time or have renewed relevance today.

Other titles by Stripe Press:

High Growth Handbook by Elad GilThe Dream Machine by M. Mitchell WaldropStubborn Attachments by Tyler CowenRevolt of the Public by Martin GurriGet Together by Bailey Richardson, Kevin Huynh, and Kai Elmer SottoThe Making of Prince of Persia by Jordan MechnerThe Art of Doing Science and Engineering by Richard W. HammingWorking in Public by Nadia Eghbal

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