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  • Book review : Smart & Gets Things Done

    Posted on September 19th, 2011 Thibaut 1 comment
    Smart & Gets Things Done

    Joël Spolsky, a former Microsoft employee, created his company Fog Creek Software based on the strong belief that hiring top software developers, treating them like rock stars and providing them the best tooling and work environment leads to a profitable business. From empirical results, this philosophy seems to be true. In this book, Joël describes and justifies this philosophy in a concise and humorous book, filled with real life examples and anecdotes. In a nutshell, you’ll learn why hiring top developers is so important (depending on which business you’re in), how to attract and retain such profiles that are basically never on the market, what kind of office and tooling works best for productivity, etc. While one could think it’s intended for the IT recruiters audience, I found that this reading was very interesting for developers as well, so you know what qualities recruiters are looking for, among other things.

     

    Pros

    • Concise (can be read in an afternoon) and funny book
    • Lots of interesting infos and insights about recruiting top software professionals

    Cons

    • Conception given in the book is maybe a bit too elitist : while it claims that only top professionals should be hired, a lot of companies can’t afford to do that (they couldn’t attract nor retain those kind of people, unchallenging tasks is just one reason among others). A lot of projects don’t require every developer to be a rock star to succeed

    Conclusion

    Very interesting book in overall. Just keep in mind that those principles only apply to companies who have the potential to attract and retain top developers. In that case, the learnings from this book prove to be very useful. Myself working for a company applying those principles (great people, great tooling, great environment such as free catering, massage, etc), I can definitely tell from experience that the results are incredible !

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