Team Communication Technique

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Amazon.com

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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Amazon.com

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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Amazon.com

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

Geniuses Make Mistakes

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Amazon.com

The phenomenon of “techie-celebrity” has almost spilled over into mythology. We all want to write something world-changing like Linux, or design the next brilliant programming language. Deep down we all secretly wish to be geniuses. The ultimate geek fantasy is to be struck by an awesome new concept. You go into your Bat Cave for weeks or months, slaving away at a perfect implementation of your idea. You then “unleash” your software on the world, shocking everyone with your genius.

But even if you are a genius, it turns out that that’s not enough. Geniuses still make mistakes, and having brilliant ideas and elite programming skills doesn’t guarantee that your software will be a hit. What’s going to make or break your career is how well you collaborate with others.

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

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