Overall 5/10 – Having read and loved the phoenix project, I had high expectations for this book, perhaps too high. It felt like the same message and story regurgitated to sell another book. Perhaps if I hadn’t seen most the ideas before elsewhere it would have felt newer and more impactful.
- Compared to the previous book there is a lot more emphasis on people skills,
it’s great to see this highlighted in a book for programmers where that kind of networking isn’t as common.
- The “rebellion” team was formed as a ragtag coalition of people that wanted to make a difference
- Kurt operated at the edge of permitted staff behaviour to get the resources the team needed
- Maxine visited people outside her own department in person to build alliances
- She asked how they completed their work and helped them find where they fitted into the overall flow to increase throughput overall
- Sarahs toxic behaviour and the need for psychological safety
- Some problems seem highly exaggerated to reach foregone conclusions to point at fashionable technology.
- For example getting a working build takes weeks = containers.
- Concurrency issue = Immutability and Functional programming solves the day
- I wouldn’t disagree that those technologies are great for some problems, it just seemed they were thrown into the book to namedrop.
- Near the very end it proposes that large companies can outpace their smaller rivals as they have the relationships, resources and data.
I’m not sure I entirely buy that. One of the hardest things to change is values and perceptions.
- Project Shamu sounded interesting, taking 23 API calls that have their own SLAs and reducing them to one dependency without caching. I wondered what technology this was referring to but googling didn’t help. Any ideas?
The Five Ideals
These are the ideals presented at the back of the book. I can certainly agree on their importance:
- Locality and Simplicity
- Focus, Flow and Joy
- Improvement of Daily Work
- Psychological Safety
- Customer Focus