Mickey W. Mantle and Ron Lichty


Managing the Unmanageable

by Mickey W. Mantle and Ron Lichty

Rules, Tools, & Insights for Managing Software People and Teams


  • This book provides a ton of tactics for dealing with all sorts of situations you are likely to encounter, including just why this is a hard task.
    • At first, it may seem to move a little slowly, but it picks up speed as it starts to reference previously talked about tactics used in tandem.
  • While some of the teachings may seem to conflict with other recommended reading on the surface, a deeper dive should prove they actually do not.


This book approaches Software Management from a different perspective from the others, looking at it more from the perspective of incremental improvement rather than high-level strategies. Both are very helpful.

Who should read?

I would say anyone could read this, but I would call this required reading for anyone interested in the management path. There are many sections that have in-office specific advice, but don't skip them, just think about how the goal can be implemented remotely.

Important concepts

  • Lots of quotes that really helped solidify the taught concepts, at least for me (Derek). These and the "Rules of thumb and Nuggets of Wisdom" seem particularly useful.
  • A lot of the themes echo other books, like "Always be Recruiting", but unigue to this book seem to be:
  • Motivation, and applying 3 frameworks to do so (Maslow's, X-Y, Herzberg).
  • Delivery, how to ensure success.