Mitch's Recommended Reading

These books are my top "theory" picks for software professionals:

  1. Click to read reviews or buy Mythical Man-Month Mythical Man-Month

  2. Click to read reviews or buy Code Complete Code Complete

  3. Click to read reviews or buy Domain Driven Design Domain Driven Design My notes are here.

  4. Click to read reviews or buy Pragmatic Unit Testing Pragmatic Unit Testing

  5. Click to read reviews or buy Design Patterns Design Patterns

  6. Click to read reviews or buy The Pragmatic Programmer The Pragmatic Programmer

  7. Click to read reviews or buy Refactoring Refactoring

  8. Click to read reviews or buy Agile and Iterative Development Agile and Iterative Development

  9. Click to read reviews or buy Peopleware Peopleware

    This is a great book, it's 20 years old, but still relevant. Notes and Quotes:

    1. Projects fail not for technical reasons, but for sociological reasons.
    2. Our successes stem from good human interactions, not from incremental technical improvements.
    3. Making errors should be encouraged - everyone should have a few mistakes during the project when we tried something and it didn't work. When the answer to "How many mistakes did you make?" is "none"; that's a bad sign people aren't trying enough new things.
    4. We need people who make the team "jell" - they are worth more than coders.
    5. We spend too much time trying to get things done, and not enough time asking if the thing is worth doing.
    6. People really like to make very high quality stuff, but the market wants high quantity.
    7. Parkinson's law, "work expands to fill the alloted time", doesn't apply well to software developers.
    8. Beware of claims to increase software productivity by 100% because most time is not spent programming.
    9. When testing productivity of programmers, some were 10 times more productive than others. This is not quite what it sounds like since not all a person's time is taken with programming.
    10. During "programming games", language did not affect the outcome (except assembly language) and experience didn't matter (if they had more than six months experience).
    11. Quiet places for work are extremely important to allow programmers to get in the "flow" of their work. (This agrees with Joel Spolsky, but not the Agile wing of development).
    12. Corporations have entropy. Differences, and creativity, in departments are slowly ground out of them to create a flat, bleak landscape of sameness.
    13. Big Methodologies don't work; better to use training, tools, and peer reviews.
    14. Fujitsu encourages all projects to do some aspect in a nonstandard way.
    15. Letting teams strive for less than perfect quality is the "death knell" for the team. Teams really want to do high quality work.
    16. "Sociology matters more than technology or even money."
    17. Overtime is destructive and counter-productive.
    18. People hate change. We are agents of change.
    19. Try to keep people on one project at a time, not spread over several at one time. They are less efficient and more frustrated.
    20. Don't waste your peoples time in meetings and overstaffing projects early.
    21. Create a fun, creative, productive team environment - somehow.