Important Change

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The important changes begin with you and then spread outward to others.

Team Geek: A Software Developer’s Guide to Working Well with Others by Brian W. Fitzpatrick and Ben Collins-Sussman

True Friends Constructively Criticize

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If you can find friends or colleagues who will constructively criticize your work when you ask them, hang on to these people because they’re worth their weight in unobtainium.

Team Geek: A Software Developer’s Guide to Working Well with Others by Brian W. Fitzpatrick and Ben Collins-Sussman

Building Team Culture

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A “strong culture” is one that is open to change that improves it, yet is resistant to radical change that harms it.

The interesting thing about team culture is that, if you build a strongly defined one, it will become self-selecting.

Just as important as your team’s decision-making process is the manner in which team members treat one another, because this is more self-selecting than anything else.

Team Geek: A Software Developer’s Guide to Working Well with Others by Brian W. Fitzpatrick and Ben Collins-Sussman

Frogcasting the Weather

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Barnes and Noble

“At first Freddy’s mom thought all this weather watching was cute. But Freddy was right so many times that Mama Frog couldn’t help but boast to her friends about Freddy’s amazing weather-prediction abilities.

Before long, the whole town knew about Freddy’s frogcasting ways.”

Freddy the Frogcaster, written by Janice Dean and illustrated by Russ Cox

Source of Conflict

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Almost every social conflict can ultimately be traced back to a lack of humility, respect, or trust.

Note that “being humble” is not the same as saying one should be an utter doormat: there’s nothing wrong with self-confidence.

Team Geek: A Software Developer’s Guide to Working Well with Others by Brian W. Fitzpatrick and Ben Collins-Sussman

Team is the Goal

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Creating a superstar team is the real goal, and is fiendishly difficult. The best teams make brilliant use of their superstars, but the whole is always greater than the sum of its parts.

Team Geek: A Software Developer’s Guide to Working Well with Others by Brian W. Fitzpatrick and Ben Collins-Sussman

Team Communication Technique

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This idea is pure genius:

We used to work on a team with a vocal interrupt protocol: if you wanted to talk, you would say “breakpoint Mary” where Mary was the name of the person you wanted to talk to. If Mary was at a point where she could stop, she would swing her chair around and listen. If Mary was too busy, she’d just say “ack” and you’d go on with other things until she finished with her current head state.

Team Geek: A Software Developer’s Guide to Working Well with Others by Brian W. Fitzpatrick and Ben Collins-Sussman

Relevancy Requires Teamwork

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Ambitious projects evolve quickly and have to adapt to changing environments as they go. Projects run into unpredictable design obstacles, or political obstacles, or simply discover that things aren’t working as planned. Requirements morph unexpectedly. How do you get that feedback loop so that you know the instant your plans or designs need to change? Answer: by working in a team.

People working in caves awake to discover that while their original vision may be complete, the world has changed and made the product irrelevant.

Team Geek: A Software Developer’s Guide to Working Well with Others by Brian W. Fitzpatrick and Ben Collins-Sussman

Bus Factor

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Bus factor (noun): the number of people that need to get hit by a bus before your project is completely doomed.

How dispersed is the knowledge and know-how in your project? If you’re the only person who understands how the prototype code works, it may be nice job security, but it also means the project is toast if you get hit by a bus.

Team Geek: A Software Developer’s Guide to Working Well with Others by Brian W. Fitzpatrick, Ben Collins-Sussman