Team Geek – a book review

I’ve recently finished reading a book Team Geek: A Software Developer’s Guide to Working Well with Others. This book was originally recommended to me by one of my co-workers, who made a short presentations about it during one of our “Buzzes”. So I’ve got a Kindle edition of it, but it took me a while to actually read it.

And I am glad I finally did it – liked this book a lot. What’s interesting, it talks about many things we recently implemented in our company, and in our squad in particular, and it made me to appreciate even more what our squad manager is doing. For example, the book tell how important is to keep the scrums short, so that they would remain real “stand-ups”. And I know that some other squads had grown into a habit to have their scrums like 30 minutes long or more. I now, that the members of those squads hate it. Originally I was not to say upset, but wondering, why our manager insists on all of us really standing during the scrum,  why he stops discussion about particular issues and says – we will discuss it after the scrum. But now I see, that those were right things to do. There are also other things from this book, which we do in our squad, like the way we track the issues.

But what I liked the most, was the fact, that the book is actually about how to work with people, how to work in  teams in the IT industry. And I can’t think of a more important topic. In the very first chapter of the book the authors say that the myths usually attribute development of some systems or products to a single person, like Linus is often thought of as a person, who single-handedly created Linux. But:

Actually Linus  just wrote  the beginnings of a proof-of concept Unix-like kernel, and showed it to an email list. <..> Linux is hundred times bigger than that and was developed by hundreds of smart people. Linus’s real achievement was to lead these people and coordinate their work.

The time of “single geniuses” is over, if there ever was one on the first place. And these days nobody is going to tolerate a difficult person just because of his or her individual abilities. It’s not worth if, if the person can’t work with others.

The book is full of excellent examples of how important it is to develop team, to develop team culture. I especially like how the team culture is compared to the yeast in a bread dough: if we have a right starter, the team culture will be preserved, even when none of the original team members will be there.  Another important chapter id the one which talks about the managerial skills, “even if you think you do not want to be a manager ever”.

Overall I think it’s a great book, which helps you to understand “how it all works”, and I strongly recommend it.

And it’s not that long at all 🙂 🙂 🙂


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Filed under books, Team and teamwork

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