Shipping Greatness: Book Review


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Something every developer and team aspires to is shipping great software. But as we all know, it doesn’t always work out that way. So what can we learn from Chris Vander Mey’s Shipping Greatness ? 

First, let’s take a look at the authors credentials; Chris has worked as a product manager at Google and an engineering manager at Amazon; two companies who have a pretty good track record when it comes to delivering products. So, I guess he has learned a thing or two.

The book is split into two parts. The first focusses on the step by step shipping process that the author has seen used in Google and Amazon.  This starts with defining your misson, puts a spotlight on creating a great user experience and deals with the testing and measurement of your delivery.

The second part of the book looks at the best practices and techniques that you should use as someone trying to orchestrate a great delivery.  Skills that you will read about in this section include how to build a team that is up to the task, and how to be a great communicator and decision maker.

While the book will appeal to anyone who wants to build great, meaningful software products, it is probably managers and technical leads that will get the most out of Shipping Greatness. 

There’s a really nice “10 Principles of Shipping” list at the back of the book, which any leader should keep in mind – maybe put a printout up on the team whiteboard. These principles include tips such as  “start with the user and work outward” or “you’ll never do the whole job, so first od that which only you can do”.  As well as showing the way to deliver greatness, this book could help improve how you lead your team.

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