Monday, September 17, 2018

Books I wish I read earlier

When I wrote the review of The Manager's Path I started to think about other books I wish I had read earlier.

Usually these triggered some kind of change in how I approach my work or life. This list is definitely incomplete and I will add more to the goodreads list at the bottom of this post.

Extreme Programming Explained: Embrace Change by Kent Beck

I still remember when and where I read this for the first time. It was on a plane from the US OSCON back to London where I had my start-up. 
Up to that point all of our projects where waterfall and we basically had no unit tests in our code.
On the plane I decided we had to do major changes and we did these over the next years.
I was still pretty inexperienced in leading a team, but this was one step into the right direction.

By now most of the things mentioned in the book, like pair programming, small cycles, unit testing, agility are well used and documented. This small book is probably still worth a read.

Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity

This book is one of the ones where the solution is so obvious that a one page summary would probably enough. Nonetheless this is a good book and gave me a better idea about organizing myself.
I am using a mix of the paper approach for all the paper one still receives and Todoist for everything else.

In the end it is just a form of Kanban or Inbox Zero. It doesn't matter how you manage your tasks, just keep your work in progress small and your tasks prioritized. 

Web Operations: Keeping the Data On Time

A collection of essays and interviews that gave me lots of ideas about DevOps and that side of a company in general. I still use it as a reference for things like post mortems.
Because these are mostly stories it is an easy read and you don't have to read the book in sequence, just pick the ones that you find most interesting.

Radical Candor: Be a Kick-Ass Boss Without Losing Your Humanity

Mostly interesting and inspiring because I am so hopeless bad at this. As an introvert the idea of being candid and even worse radical candid seems absurd. But I know it is one of the areas I have to work on and the book gave me new ideas in a nice form.

It is a bit long though and does repeat the main points over and over again. 

The Lean Startup: How Today's Entrepreneurs Use Continuous Innovation to Create Radically Successful Businesses

I am not working at a start-up any more, neither am I on the business side. I just wish we had this in my time in London. We would have avoided a lot of pain and would probably be still around now.
Implementing this in an existing setting is a lot harder unless you have buy in from the top.

The Manager's Path: A Guide for Tech Leaders Navigating Growth and Change

A great book for engineers transitioning to management. Another book I would have loved to have had at my start-up, thankfully it didn't exist back then. My review of The Manager's Path.

Definitely worth reading for all developers even if you don't plan to go into management.

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