Fast Company magazine has published an interesting article on managing software engineers titled How to Manage Geeks. Of course, I like it because it says that I should be treated better :). They interviewed the CEO of Novell, Eric Schmidt, who has a strong technology background as well as being credited with turning around Novell, which many believed was doomed.
It does seem like software engineers can be a very challenging group of people to manage, especially for managers that don't understand their unique characteristics. The article seems to imply that the best managers are those that simply facilitate the natural tendencies of software engineers. It also mentions that engineers rarely make good managers. I imagine that's probably true. Of course, Schmidt himself shows that there are certainly exceptions to this rule (including some very notable ones like Bill Gates and Steve Jobs).