There's a lot of good things to say about make, but I'm not going to say any of them. It's tedious, foreign to most scripting concepts, and frankly very few people have anything other than rudimentary domain knowledge of the program.
So in turn, I'd like to recommend scons (available at http://www.scons.org/). While not perfect, it handles some of the cross platform (that would be unix/linux OS's and win32 OS's) problems far more elegantly. And best of all, it's based in python, which is far easier for both pass along knowledge on and find people who know it.