The Superstruct Manifesto

Avoid common mistakes

The Superstruct Manifesto is a survival guide for founders who depend on devs to get things done.

What's in the book

How not to lose key information if a dev leaves

Preventing endless rebuilds and framework switching

Keeping devs busy vs. keeping them productive

How to ensure your product builds don't go off the deep end

Why trying to recruit 10x developers is a bad idea

Not being afraid of your devs

How not to vet software engineers

Whether or not you should use sprints

The real cost of daily standups


5.0 out of 5 stars

Essential reading for founders

“Superstruct Manifesto serves as an essential and relentless guide for startup founders. David's manifesto presents audacious challenges that question traditional beliefs. If it unsettles you, that's the point; these cautions and proclamations are designed to compel you to reassess your understanding of collaborating with a dev team. Drawing on years of experience, David provides a dynamic and unapologetic toolkit that equips you with practical strategies to maximize the potential of the very people responsible for transforming your vision into reality. Read it once, then read it again for good measure.”

Alexx Henry
CEO, BlueVishnu

5.0 out of 5 stars

A playbook for founders. Finally!

“'Too many founders fail for avoidable reasons.' One of the reasons why founders fail is perhaps they didn't have access to the 'The Superstruct Manifesto.' This brilliant and concise playbook is a must read for any founder or C-Suite in the constant need of real-time, bedrock solutions designed to guide us through a technology world that is disrupting itself every quarter. After reading it, I was compelled to do away with stand-up meetings forever, a testament to the transformative insights housed within its pages. Mr. Guttman says this book is not a cookbook with step-by-step recipes inside, and I agree. The wisdom of each chapter actually feels like a finished meal meant to nourish and sustain us. So I strongly recommend you savor these 10 tasty, powerful, well-curated and highly articulate chapters in whatever order you wish. I guarantee your business will feel better after.”

Steven Amato
CEO/Founder (Contend, Apex, Omelet, HoT, BlockPop)

5.0 out of 5 stars

Concise resource for founders written by a seasoned expert

“I've been building engineering orgs in rapid growth technology for the past 12 years. I consider David's text to be a critical pocket guide for any leader looking to avoid common tropes and pitfalls faced by otherwise well-intentioned orgs. These are lessons that can eat a lot of time if learned the hard way. At a technology company, time is the one resource you can't have too much of and can never get back. As such, I highly recommend this book to anyone looking to survive in this rather brutal and unforgiving industry.”

Spencer Allen
Founder, Fulcrum Hire

5.0 out of 5 stars

5.0 out of 5 stars Great read for founders, managers, and entrepreneurs at any level! Highly Recommend!

“As a creative technologist, musician, and repeat founder, I have a bad case of imposter syndrome when it comes to being a 'real' engineer. I know my way around a codebase, but as a manager over the years I've been guilty of almost every no-no in this book! Superstruct helped reveal many bad habits - especially falling victim to blindly mimicking the principles & practices of my favorite companies. Building teams around a slate of diverse projects with different engineering needs is difficult. By remembering David's 'Commando, Infantry, Police' staffing analogy, I have increased velocity, creativity, & quality. Excellent read!”

Matthew Davis
Founder, [namethemachine]

5.0 out of 5 stars

Great for technology leaders at all stages of their careers

“The Superstruct Manifesto is recommended reading for technology leaders at all stages of their careers from Tech/Team Lead, through Director, and on to CTO/VPE. Tech leaders will gain the experiences and feelings for the more nuanced (i.e. harder) aspects of being a leader. Stated differently - what is the 'garbage' you are going to run up against as a technical team leader and how can you defend your beliefs, your team, and your opinions? This book is also highly recommended for CEOs and other business leaders that regularly interact with technical leadership. The chapters give good insights into the mindset of technical leader and the challenges they run up against. CEOs will learn common situations and patterns that cause distress to your tech team along with ideas on how to support your technical leadership moving forward. Stated differently you should read this to learn how to better understand and talk tech and not come across as an ignoramus.”

John Shiple
CTO, Standard Draft

5.0 out of 5 stars

Leadership clarity

“No matter how much engineering management experience you think you have, someone always has a way of painting a clearer picture. Within this read, I was able to rapidly extract endgame wisdom without having to live through a lifetime of empirical failures. It's ironically a modern interpretation of old traditions, with a common-sense perspective and straightforward tone. There is no fluff or flurry, just a well-indexed accumulation of ideas framed for old-timers to learn new tricks and immediately put them into action. Superstruct should be required reading for new and seasoned tech leadership.”

Jad Meouchy
Co-Founder, BadVR

5.0 out of 5 stars

Founder quality of life

“Superstruct outlines a clear quality of life plan for founders, the developers they work with, and the project itself. A clear structure, a superstructure, provides the tools to ship on time and under budget despite the wild and inevitable changes most projects undergo. If I had half of this implemented we'd surely be further along! Highly recommend.”

Brent Bushnell
Executive Chairman & Co-Founder, Two Bit Circus

5.0 out of 5 stars

A (Quick) Must Read For Founders

“David Guttman has boiled down 20+ years of software team experience into ten delightfully short chapters that are clear-eyed, unapologetic, and at times, darkly hilarious. A no-holds barred takedown of some of the biggest 'common sense' myths about how to build and manage productive software teams. David pulls no punches on topics like daily stand-ups, developer estimates, 10x developers, and more. A must read for founders who don't want to feel like they're at the mercy of their dev teams.”

5.0 out of 5 stars

Phenomenal read

“Just finished The Superstruct Manifesto by David Guttman. For anyone deep in the trenches of startups or wrangling engineering teams, this is a solid read. Guttman really gets it - his blend of anecdotes and pragmatic advice cuts through the noise. He's breaking down hard-hitting tech topics and pushing for a team-first approach. And considering his stints at places like Disney and AT&T Interactive, the dude has street cred. More than a book, it's a playbook from someone who's been around the block in tech. If you're in the startup scene, give it a spin. It's a breath of fresh air in a world of hot takes and buzzwords.”

5.0 out of 5 stars

Must read for founders and engineering leaders!

“As an extremely busy person, let me say this is an extremely easy read - it's concise and straight to the point. A must read for founders and engineering leaders alike. As a former developer, I thought I understood managing developers...but the two roles are worlds apart. The Superstruct Manifesto makes basic management and hiring principles ultra clear. Most importantly, it enables you to avoid deceptive pitfalls and challenges commonly accepted inefficiencies that would take years to decode. Don't hire and manage engineers without reading this - an hour or two and ten bucks to save yourself years of sideways movement? Yes please.”

5.0 out of 5 stars

A Revolution in Developer Management

“The Superstruct Manifesto is an enlightening expedition into the labyrinth of engineering management. What Guttman brings to the table isn't just expertise, but a fresh perspective on how to steer software teams today. The Manifesto unravels common misconceptions and offers a unique blueprint on handling developer teams with efficiency and empathy. The chapters delve deep into modern management paradigms, stripping away redundant practices and championing innovation. Guttman's insights, drawn from his seasoned journey in the industry, are invaluable. His emphasis on forging a 'superstructure' that nurtures productivity without compromising team well-being is a game-changer. This book isn't just another managerial guide—it's a transformative doctrine for anyone at the helm of tech teams. Even if you're 'just' a developer, buy it to leave (anonymously) on your manager's desk. Don't miss out on this revolutionary guide.”

5.0 out of 5 stars

Mandatory read for anyone managing developers

“The Superstruct Manifesto challenges the status quo and invites us to question traditional practices. With wit and sharp observations, the author exposes the inefficiencies and costs associated with common cargo culting. For example, the absurdity of standups and making these meetings uncomfortable to save time is brilliantly highlighted. There's valuable insights on the opportunity cost of lost productive time and alternative approaches for achieving accountability, transparency, and alignment. The Superstruct Manifesto is a must-read for anyone seeking to challenge and improve the way they lead and manage their teams.”

5.0 out of 5 stars

Worth reading if you manage developers!

“This book is full of wisdom on how to manage developers. I've long relied on David's verbal advice on how to manage developers. He has an intuition for producing good teamwork that defies conventions, and a string of successes to prove his methods. I'm excited that he's finally written it all down, and you should be too. I only wish he'd sell a paper copy so I could use it to smack engineering managers in the head.”

5.0 out of 5 stars

This manifesto is not just a book, it's a transformative playbook

“In a landscape inundated with tech-centric literature, The Superstruct Manifesto emerges as a refreshing beacon of wisdom and insight for founders and entrepreneurs alike. David Guttman's expertise and practical guidance shine through the pages, providing an invaluable roadmap for those navigating the intricate world of software engineering.”

5.0 out of 5 stars

Concise and persuasive

“Really enjoyed the analogies and categorizations of common programmer personalities and motivations. Gave me a lot to reflect on, especially regarding my own end-to-end commitment to actual business needs (vs ego). This is going to end up on every short-list of books engineering leaders must read.”

5.0 out of 5 stars

Success requires an iterative process

“We've all made assumptions on what makes a good tech company: morning standups, sprints, and hiring 10x developers. These approaches sound good because you're being 'productive', but how much of it is actually busy work tying up good people's time. I loved the straightforward approach this book takes to examining many of the givens in modern engineering organizations and how to think about them in a new way. While you might not believe every piece of advice in here, I think you'll find some solid approaches to revamp how you run your org and at least one tip that you'll absolutely love.”

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The Superstruct Manifesto is available in hardcover and Kindle formats.