Getting Real

Generally, I don’t like taking time off between Christmas and New Years.  Two reasons.  First, I try to spend at least 50% of my time during that generally slow time of year having my annual “think week.”  For me, think week includes activities like reading widely (a.k.a. surfing), strategic big picture thinking, installing applications created by innovative software companies and developers, and generally allowing myself to be refreshed by not worrying about the every-day-stuff.  Second, I enjoy taking time off during the summer much better.

One of my Think Week accomplishments was reading 37 signals “Getting Real.”

The book is a easy, fast read about what the founders of 37 signals view as essential in writing good software and running a software company.

I’d also add it reads like a basic tips-on-good-management primer as well.  A small bit of self-aggrandizing – I’m pleased that many of the pearls of wisdom mentioned have been some of my mantra’s for years.  Furthermore, Centric being a modern Agile enterprise embraces many of the concepts as well.

So download and read the book.  Here are a few examples of my favorite chapters / topics:

  • Be Agile – There’s a bold advocation for all things agile.  Love it.
  • Tomorrow Never Comes – Solve today’s problems today, and worry about future problems when they actually come.  Keep it simple until you are absolutely sure you need it to be more feature rich, flexible, configurable, etc.
  • Application Design – Start with the UI, it’s the most important piece.
  • Hire Attitude – Hire people with a can-do enthusiastic attitude.
  • Pricing – Give something away for free.  Use trials to get them hooked.  You’ll have much more success starting free then moving people into a paid plan.
  • Don’t Do Detailed Functional Specs – They’re not used much and are generally worthless.  Good developers don’t use them.  Simple user stories are better, and faster.  Subject matter experts sitting next to developers while they are building the application is best.
  • Customer Support – Don’t outsource it. Don’t build a separate group to perform this function.  Make the developers do it.

I welcome your comments,

Mike Brannan