my lean & open source reading list – recommendations welcome!

Cube Seat

I think it’s worth pulling together a list of essential books that I think should be required reading for people on Lean & open source teams (like mine):

  • Basis for the team values that we practice: The Five Dysfunctions of a Team: A Leadership Fable Patrick Lencioni (amazon)
  • This is a foundational classic for team building:  Peopleware: Productive Projects and Teams (Second Edition) Tom DeMarco (amazon)
  • This novel is good primer for lean and devops The Phoenix Project: A Novel About IT, DevOps, and Helping Your Business Win Gene Kim and George Spafford & Kevin Behr (amazon)
  • Business Focus on Lean: The Lean Startup: How Today’s Entrepreneurs Use Continuous Innovation to Create Radically Successful Businesses Eric Ries (amazon)
  • Foundational (and easy) reading about Lean: The Goal: A Process of Ongoing Improvement Eliyahu M. Goldratt (amazon)
  • One of my favorites on Lean / Agile: Implementing Lean Software Development: From Concept to Cash Mary Poppendieck (amazon)
  • Should be required reading for open source (as close to “Open Source for Dummies as you can get): The Cathedral & the Bazaar: Musings on Linux and Open Source by an Accidental Revolutionary Eric S. Raymond (amazon)
  • Culture Change Liquid Leadership: From Woodstock to Wikipedia–Multigenerational Management Ideas That Are Changing the Way We Run Things Brad Szollose (amazon)
  • More Team Building – this one is INTERACTIVE!

There are some notable additions, but I think this is enough for now.  I’m always looking for recommendations!  Please post your favorites in the comments!

The power of a list with three things (reading recommendations)

Over breakfast with fellow Dell cloud thinker and general deep thinker Michael Cote, he suggested that we two options for something.  I was quick to add a third and Cote objected because “having three options is a marketing thing to make you happier with the choices.”   He’s right but didn’t have the sources to backup the comment.  Since I was looking them up for Cote, I figured they’d be worth posting too:

  1. Dan Ariely’s Predictably Irrational  (covers the theory and it funny)
  2. Rom Brafman’s Sway (very pragmatic)
  3. Leonard Mlodinow Drunkard’s Walk (if you like statistics)

Personally, I believe that there are always FIVE options.   People generally over look the extreme choices like “do nothing” or  “all in.”   For example, when discussing a product architecture the two options that IMHO should always be on the table include “scrap the project” and “live with the problem.”

We never take the extra options, but they help clarify the three moderate choices.  Of course, this makes more sense after you read the above books.  So read the books (there are 3), don’t read the books, or setup personal interviews with the authors to get the real story.   The choice is yours!

Rethinking Play and Work: gaming is good for us (discuss in ATX, Dell, Twitter?)

Brad Szollose’s Liquid Leadership piqued my interest in the idea that gaming teaches critical job skills for the information age.  This is a significant paradigm shift in how we learn, share and collaborate to solve problems together.

At first, I thought “games = skillz” was nonsense until I looked more carefully at what my kids are doing in games.

When my kids are gaming they are doing things that adults would classify as serious work:

  • Designing buildings and creating machines that work within their environment
  • Hosting communities and enforcing discipline within the group
  • Recruiting talent to collaborate on shared projects
  • Writing programs that improve their productivity
  • Solving challenging problems under demanding time pressures
  • Learning to perseverance through multiple trials and iterative learning
  • Memorizing complex sequences and facts

They seek out these challenges because they are interesting, social and fun.

Is playing collaborative Portal 2 (which totally rocks) with my 13 year old worse than a nice game of chess?  I think it may be better!  We worked side-by-side on puzzles, enjoyed victories together, and left with a shared experience.

On the flip side, I’ve observed that it takes my kids a while to “come back down” after they play games.  They seem more likely to be impatient, rude and argumentative immediately after playing.  This effect definitely varies depending on the game.

I don’t pretend that all games and gaming has medicinal benefits; rather that we need to rethink how we look at games.  This is the main theme from McGonigal’s Reality is Broken (link below).  I’m just at the beginning and my virtual high lighter is running out of ink!  Here are some of her observations that she supports with research and data:

  • Gaming provides an evolutionary advantage
  • The majority of US citizens are gamers
  • Gaming teaches flow (state of heightened awareness that is essential to creativity and health)
  • Gaming drives UI innovation (really from Szollose) (yeah, and so does the porn industry)

If you’re interested in discussing this more, then please read one of the books listed below and choose another in the field.

Please feel free to post additional suggestions for titles as comments!

If you’re interested, let me know by commenting to tweeting – I’ll post our meeting times here in the future.

Note: I do not consider myself to be a “gamer.”  Although I greatly enjoy games, my play is irregular.  I suspect this is because I can achieve flow from my normal daily activities (programming, writing, running).