Ship It and The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

Ship It! A Practical Guide to Successful Software Projects is a really quick read. I’m 100 pages deep now and I’ve got two sides of a 3×5 card filled with new ideas including things like lots of constant buddy/mini code reviews instead of pair programming.

I’m sure I’ll end up experimenting with a bunch of the ideas, and I’m a little surprised at how much I’m enjoying the read. I picked it up thinking it might have some good ideas, but that I probably knew much of the content. I recognize a lot of the ideas, but they’re able to present them in novel ways and cite clever anecdotes that keep my mind really engaged. This is the sort of book that impresses me with the Pragmatic Programmers series.

Of course I did notice one practice they suggest is keeping ‘The List’ of all the project features. The idea is really similar to Scrum’s backlog, but they were inspired by Stephen Covey’s writings on the ‘7 Habits’. Personally I’m more of a ‘Getting Things Done‘ (GTD) fan, and David Allen the unlikely guru suggests that the idea of a daily list really doesn’t work for most people.

I’d have to agree I find I almost always put stuff on a daily list and then fail to get most of it done. All it means is I have to copy it over to the next day and feel guilty about it, not exactly a successful system. With GTD I just stick the item into a context like @Computer and only items that absolutely have to get done on that day get done like ‘Turn in final employee reviews to HR’. I find it to be a much cleaner system. Feels like a more pragmatic approach to me.