Book Review - Team Geek: A Software Developer's Guide to Working Well with Others by Brian W. Fitzpatrick and Ben Collins-Sussman
You'd think that in IT, the most important component of a team would be its technical prowess. Wrong... it's the ability to work with each other. Team Geek: A Software Developer's Guide to Working Well with Others by Brian W. Fitzpatrick and Ben Collins-Sussman make the case that respect, personality, and team culture is just as important (if not more so) than the ability to come up with the "perfect" code that passes geek inspection. After 30+ years in the industry, I have to agree...
Introduction; The Myth of the Genius Programmer; Building an Awesome Team Culture; Every Boat Needs a Captain; Dealing with Poisonous People; The Art of Organizational Manipulation; Users Are People, Too; Epilogue; Further Reading; Index
I don't think this book would be nearly as good if it were written by an "expert" in organizational team dynamics (or some other vaguely worded title). IT people are... different. Fitzpatrick and Collins-Sussman live in that world, so their advice is based on real-world experience. The style and language of the writing is perfect for the audience, and everything is grounded in practical terms with real-world examples of teams that work on well-known projects.
One of the points that resonated with me was the insistence that culture *must* be considered the primary driver for the direction of and choices during projects. There are a number of examples where teams, especially open-source teams, were faced with individuals who wanted to inject their own ideas into the mix. That's a good thing, unless it's done in such a way that goes against the grain of how the team functions and what they value. It may be tempting to take their code and overlook their personality. But a single attitude can destroy a team far faster than you'd expect, and it's not worth making the exception. Team Geek reinforces the reasons why establishing *and* protecting a culture is worth the effort.
While it may not be a "sexy" read in terms of learning a new coding trick or hardware setting, Team Geek may be the one read that keeps you sane and happy over the life of your career. This is a book that I'd strongly recommended...
Obtained From: Publisher