Lately we have been very busy here in SharedBook with our new Blog2Print widget. It all started just a few weeks ago, with a short POC (I wrote about POCs earlier here), and now it has become a real product, which is attracting a lot of attention (as it should, seeing the end result: my family’s vacation blog just turned into a fabulous
As we get lots of feedback on this project, and want to give the first beta users the best experience, we have setup a team to make sure that we provide fast, on time solutions and feedback to our users, as well as to introduce the production version of this product (with many goodies to come!) on time.
Seeing this team in action is amazing. Everyone is joining the effort, asking to help. Developers are courageously entering unknown code (Collective Ownership) and extending it. Our pair programming (another agile development practice) rooms are busier than ever as people team up to solve difficult problems. And the feeling is one of moving forward very fast!
As a manager, I keep asking myself, how do you build productive teams? As a book lover, I naturally turn to books for advice. We have used this blog to recommend other Web sites, blogs and even podcasts (I truly recommend seeing Ze’ev’s list here: The Red Queen and Podcasts and Podcasts (part 2)). As a book lover, I want to take the opportunity to recommend a great book this time: Peopleware – Productive Projects and Teams.
This is a classic project management book, it claims that the main problems of software projects are sociological, not technological. With simple to adopt principles, this book lays the ground for successful team work. I can’t count the number of times I have read this book. Every few months or so, I go back to the book and read it again. Every time, I find something new to adopt and experiment with. I guess you just can’t digest it all at once!
Here in SharedBook we have all heartedly adopted this book’s approach, from team interviews for candidates, to emphasis on prioritization, working environment (hence our pair programming rooms), and creating a bonded team. And now is the time we reap the fruits of all this effort.
As I keep telling everyone here: with a team like this, I know that even the impossible is possible!