Team Geek: A Software Developer's Guide to Working Well with Others 1st Edition, Kindle Edition
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Team Geek Tips
JOIN THE TEAM
Don’t work alone. Create a low-friction environment for rapid feedback loops with other programmers.
Keep the "bus factor" high. (Bus factor = the number of people that would have to get hit by a bus before your project is completely doomed)
Practice humility, respect, and trust. Almost every social conflict can ultimately be traced back to a lack of one or all of these behaviors:
Humility: You’re not the center of the universe. You’re neither omniscient nor infallible. You’re open to self-improvement.
Respect: You genuinely care about the people with whom you work. You treat them as human beings, and appreciate their abilities and accomplishments.
Trust: You believe others are competent and will do the right thing; you’re okay with letting them drive when appropriate.
SET THE STAGE FOR SUCCESS
Build a strong team culture. Base that culture on humility, trust, and respect— and consensus-based decision making.
Write a mission statement. It's just as important to agree on what you're NOT doing as what you are.
Run efficient meetings:
- Only invite people who absolutely need to be there.
- Have an agenda and distribute it early.
- End the meeting early if possible.
- Keep the meeting on track.
- Try to schedule the meeting near other interrupt points in your day.
Never underestimate the bandwidth (and power) of a face-to-face conversation. It trumps all forms of electronic communication.
BE A TRUE LEADER
Remove roadblocks for the team. Strive to be a "servant leader."
Be a leader, not a manager. Managers worry about *how* to get things done, while Leaders worry about *what* things get done, and trust their team to figure out how to do it.
Provide direction and intrinsic motivation. Figure out how much guidance the people on your team need to stay on track—and happy.
MANAGE PROBLEMS WITHOUT DRAMA
- Reject behaviors, not people.
- Guard your team's attention and focus.
- Ignore trolls and stick to facts.
- Don't sacrifice long-term culture for short-term convenience.
Ask for forgiveness, not permission.
If you can't take the path, make the path.
Connect to the right people. Take advantage of the favor economy.
Cut to the chase. Make requests using "3 bullets and a call to action" method.
- There is a pony deficiency.
- Lack of ponies makes people sad.
- Ponies increase productivity.
TAKE CARE OF YOUR USERS
When marketing your product, under-promise and over-deliver. Be aware of how people perceive your software; it determines whether they’ll even try it out.
Make your software easy to use. If your software isn’t easy to try, fast, friendly, and accessible, users will eventually walk away.
Listen to your customers. Users want to be heard and acknowledged. Proactive engagement with long-term users has a positive effect on the evolution of your software, and on retaining your customers. --This text refers to an alternate kindle_edition edition.
- ASIN : B008EKF87S
- Publisher : O'Reilly Media; 1st edition (July 6, 2012)
- Publication date : July 6, 2012
- Language : English
- File size : 3958 KB
- Simultaneous device usage : Unlimited
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- X-Ray : Not Enabled
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Print length : 222 pages
- Lending : Not Enabled
- Best Sellers Rank: #1,859,441 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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Weaknesses: Much advice is based on utopic premises, i.e., oriented towards large open source projects or Google (where candidates with dysfunctional team culture are theoretically weeded out during job interviews). It would be good if there was more realistic advice that applies to the 99% other software companies, e.g., where customers are government, military, etc. and companies are small businesses operating outside of silicon valley without the biggest talent pool.
There are a lot of common sense things contained in here, however, because of the personality types that gravitate towards IT/software it sometimes feels like we live in a different world and normal rules don't apply. It commonly feels like if we wait long enough, since most of us are non-confrontational, our social infractions will fix themselves or go away. That's rarely true and can eventually lead to unsatisfying work (and who wants that?) and burnt bridges.
Being a person that loves my career cocoon I've created in development, I found the section that urges the reader to break out towards leadership - a swift kick in the pants. It might take more planning, but I see value in their argument, "Your career is in your hands".
These tips help getting along in any walk of life. I am just glad they came from the perspective of seasoned software pros whom I can empathize with.
I would recommend this book to pretty much any one but more so to software developers. It's a good refresher on how to deal with common problems within software teams and how to participate in or lead a solid, lean software development team.
The books had some great points but I often thought that most of the advice and anecdotes were based on common sense. This is why I gave it four stars.
The co-authors coalesce decades of experience into one major theme (humility, respect, trust) supported by a number of useful and interesting stories. It's directly helpful for software engineers and indirectly helpful for any field that requires both deep individual expertise and uncommon teamwork.
Authors were involved in development of a serious piece of Software. And book is full of stories from that time.
Please do one thing before reading. Just type "Ben and Fitz" in youtube and see how they behave.
If you like their style then you will found this book really enjoyable.
I am one of those socially awkward programmers this book was directed at. When the author describes the person who would rather have an evening with a compiler than a average human, he described me. At first I was annoyed by how simple and well, not technical, his advice was yet I found it to be useful and insightful. There is nothing new in this book, but because it's said by someone who understands it gave some of these lessons more credibility in my mind. I often feel like a majority of people who would give me advice just don't understand or are relating things to me in a framework I'd rather just reject. A good example of this is how I view politics and "emotional maturity." I see it as a tool that people use to manipulate others and essentially lie to them. I hate it when I feel like I've been "hoodwinked" or lied to. The author puts forward a real good argument as to why learning to interact with others and play the game a bit can pay back in dividends. Refusing to interact with others out of principal is not the answer, regardless of how hard that is to accept. I may not change, but at the least I am once again reminded of how I should change should the need arise.
It lays out very clear behaviors that you should exhibit with your team members, those outside your team and even with customers. Though they aim it us geeks, these behaviors are relevant for everyone.
They stress over and over that you need to always be thinking of treating people with:
If you treat others with HRT, you'll be far better off and probably go much further in your career.
Top reviews from other countries
Software is, despite appearances, a very human endeavor. From the outside, looking in, it may seem like software is built by typing code at your keyboard all day long. Arguably, typing actual code is a very small part of building and shipping a working product. Building software primarily involves effectively working with people from different domain and expertise. You could be talking to the customers or business analyst to understand the business domain and tease out the requirements. You could be working with architects, user experience team etc to come up with a high level design that underpins the development. You could be coding with or managing a team of coders, or you could be liaising with the test team responsible for QA. The pivot for all these activities is human interaction.
The crucial advice that keeps cropping up in this book in different shapes and form is that if you want to be a better software developer, architect, team leader you need to master the human element of software development. It is not a panacea but I would definitely recommend it to anyone who want to make themselves and their teams more effective.
I don't like the title, because I don't feel an association to the "geek" thing. I'm not attending sci-fi conferences, don't do mathematical calculations in my head and basically don't relate to nerd or geek culture or the stereotypes around it. With this in mind, I can confirm that after reluctantly looking past the title I found this book to be one of the best I have ever read about teams.
Don't be put off by the title if you don't feel you belong to the "geek" movement, this book is ace.
The book made me to realize that being Humility, Respect and Trust is not so easy. HRT is very critical to lay the foundation of a success development team.